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Comtech Telecommunications wins tax breaks to stay on LI

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. is based in Melville.

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. is based in Melville. Photo Credit: Newsday / David Trotman-Wilkins

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. will stay on Long Island instead of moving out of state, executives said.

The manufacturer of telecommunications equipment has renewed the lease on its Melville headquarters and will purchase additional equipment for its factory, also in Melville, chief financial officer Michael Porcelain said.

The decision by Comtech, a publicly traded company, comes as the Island continues to lose corporate headquarters. On June 14 broadband and cable television provider Altice USA Inc. said it will move top executives to Long Island City, Queens, from Bethpage this year. Altice USA owns 25 percent of Newsday Media Group.

Last week, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency granted Comtech $360,581 in tax breaks over 10 years in return for the company’s promise to maintain its local payroll of 114 employees and to add another 18 within two years.

Records show Comtech’s local workers earn, on average, $102,983 per year, excluding medical and retirement benefits. The company employs about 2,000 people nationwide and also plans to hire outside New York State.

Porcelain said that tax breaks from Suffolk County and New York State, along with reductions in Comtech’s utility bills, helped to make its Long Island facilities competitive with those in lower-cost states.

He also said the company values the skills of its local workers.

“The No. 1 reason for staying was the very valuable employees that we have, the difficulty of retraining employees and the cost associated with that,” he said on Friday.

As part of its deal with the IDA, Comtech will purchase $1.1 million in equipment for its factory and headquarters.

A year ago Comtech requested IDA assistance, saying it had recently purchased a Maryland company and had excess space there and in Florida and Arizona.

Comtech reported a loss of $7.7 million for the 12 months ended July 31, 2016, on sales of $411 million.

Anthony J. Catapano, the IDA’s executive director, said keeping public companies such as Comtech is challenging: “Public companies have more options to move because in many cases their operations are worldwide.”

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