American Cap Gets $1.35M Loan for Expansion

WHEATLAND, Pa. — With the assistance of Penn-Northwest Development Corp., American Cap Company LLC has secured a $1.35 million loan to expand manufacturing operations here and retain jobs.

American Cap operates in more than 200,000 square feet of space and makes compressed gas cylinder accessories (pictured above) and other cylinder components. The company is a division of the PTR Group, which includes ACCI Industries and PTR Tool & Plastics LLC.

The low-interest state loan is from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, or PIDA, says Rod Wilt, executive director of Penn-Northwest. It requires a monetary match of at least 50%, which PTR provided, and a job retention component.

American Cap began the expansion project in 2018, and the loan is the culmination of the permanent financing for the expansion of its coupling product line at the Church Street plant here, says Richard Moroco, managing director of PTR Group. The $2,940,980 expansion project concluded in 2019 and will allow PTR Group to retain all of the 210 jobs across its divisions, “and even expand our jobs further,” Moroco says.

“As part of our project discussions with the Governor’s Action Team, they proposed as part of a grant we received for this expansion, that they were prepared to fund part of the capital of equipment costs associated with the expansion,” Moroco says. “They were with us lock step from the commencement of the project.”

The expansion includes the installation of a coupling phosphate line, a coupling painting line and additional needed ancillary equipment, Moroco says. Phosphate and paint work had originally been outsourced to third parties. By expanding in-house capacity to include that work, “that has certainly created quicker turnaround time on our part,” he says.

“When relying on a third party, you have to fit into their schedule,” he says. “This line provided us the flexibility to ramp up or ramp down as orders require.”

It will also allow American Cap to capitalize on forecasted recovery as the country comes out of the coronavirus pandemic next year. American Cap primarily serves U.S. customers in the oil country tubular goods industry, and has the capacity to produce about 50,000 couplings monthly, he says. But the coronavirus pandemic has impacted that production by about 90%, he says.

The PIDA loan and expansion provides the company “with the runway that we need in that industry” to capitalize on the recovery Moroco expects to happen in the second half of 2021, he says.

“This permanent financing provides one way to facilitate our ability to work through the pandemic,” he says.

Business is still strong in PTR’s other sectors, he notes, particularly automotive, industrial gas and specialty gas, he says. The company provides custom injection molding work for the automotive industry, which is running at 125% of its run rate prior to the pandemic, “so we’ve seen significant increases,” he says. “That business is very strong at this time.”

PTR primarily serves customers in North America, but also ships some products to automotive customers in Europe and Asia, as well as industrial gas customers in South America, Europe and Asia, he notes.

Moroco commended Penn-Northwest in its assistance in securing the loan, as well as PIDA and the Governor’s Action Team.

“It’s just great to see them growing and continuing to move forward,” Penn-Northwest’s Wilt says.

This is the first PIDA loan awarded to a local company this year, according to Wilt.

“It shows that as the lead economic development agency in Mercer County, we’re doing exactly what we’re chartered to do, which is match these funds to opportunities to stabilize employment in the county,” he said. “It just validates our mission.”

Image: PTR Group website.

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