Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Port Authority Meeting 11-24-2008

For Immediate Release

For More Information contact Martin Chaffin at (870) 338-1418

Re: RBE's Miller Reassures Port Authority Board

HELENA-WEST HELENA- Saying "we are closer than we have ever been," RBE Arkansas's Rod Miller addressed the Phillips County Port Authority Board of Directors at its regular monthly meeting Monday night.

Miller came to give the Board a status report on his efforts to get financing in place to begin construction on the proposed $1.8 billion project that features the manufacture of food-grade products with the byproducts being used for alternative fuel production and animal feed.

He said, "We have a source for permanent financing guaranteed. We now have to get the bridge financing for construction in place. We are farther along than we have ever been."

Miller also added that the changes in the market are requiring changes in the approach to obtaining construction financing. He said, "It has been suggested to me that I approach the bankers of some of the construction companies that need jobs and are interested in this project. It is possible that everyone could benefit in this kind of deal. Big companies now need work thanks to the economic downturn and their banks need could projects."

Port Authority Executive Director Martin Chaffin added, "The economy has really changed banking practices. There remain opportunities with foreign and domestic banks."

In other business, Chaffin added that talks continue with a steel fabricator from Mississippi that is interested in a site at the Helena Harbor. He also updated the Port Authority on the discussions related to the continued unloading of pipeline at the harbor. Construction of one pipeline is already progressing through the area and another is anticipated for a similar route in approximately 2010.

Chaffin also updated the board on the repair of the bridge crane. He said, "The crane is working. However, there remain some issues to be resolved with our insurance company." The crane was damaged in a storm back in the spring that resulted in some heavy damage in portions of the county.

The Board agreed not to hold a December meeting, which has been the practice in years past. If any issues arise dealing with RBE, a special meeting will be called and the media will be notified.

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