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Frequency Electronics wins more than $1.15M in tax breaks from Nassau, state

Frequency Electronics, seen on July 27, 2016, is

Frequency Electronics, seen on July 27, 2016, is headquartered in Uniondale. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The state and Nassau County have awarded more than $1.15 million in tax breaks for a $3.5 million expansion of defense contractor Frequency Electronics Inc. in Uniondale, officials said.

The state is providing $1 million in tax credits over 10 years, which are tied to Frequency's creating 116 jobs during the next five years, according to Jack Sterne, a spokesman for Empire State Development, the state's primary business-aid agency. The company's local workforce totaled 140 jobs last year.

He said on Monday the state is supporting planned improvements to Frequency's office and factory at 55 Charles Lindbergh Blvd. that are estimated to cost $3.5 million. He said the company is a leader in the aerospace industry and its expansion supports "a strong economy in Nassau County and across Long Island."

Frequency, which is publicly traded, makes timing and synchronization devices used in satellites, missiles and drone aircraft. Its products are found in the global positioning systems operated by the U.S. Air Force and widely used in auto navigation devices.

News of the state aid package for Frequency follows last month's decision by Nassau County to grant the company a sales-tax exemption of up to $152,000  on the purchase of construction materials and equipment for the building upgrade.

Thomas Stringer, the company’s site-selection consultant, said last month 13 engineering jobs have been filled since the aid application was made public in September.

Stringer, of BDO Consulting, called Frequency “one of the grand dames” of Long Island’s aerospace and defense industry, which formed the local economy’s backbone for much of the 20th century. “We are bringing back that workforce that Long Island had for so many years and trying to grow it dramatically,” he said at a meeting of the county’s Industrial Development Agency, referring to the engineering jobs.

Records show the new positions will pay on average $76,000 per year.

Stringer said the building improvements are needed to attract employees as Frequency takes advantage of new programs established by last year’s increase in federal military spending. In January, the company won a $4.5 million government contract to supply timing and microwave frequency generation systems for a space project tied to a group of satellites.

Frequency has extended the lease on its Uniondale building through September 2029, according to a securities filing. The company also has operations in California, Russia and China. It recently moved production work from New Jersey to Uniondale and sold its Belgium subsidiary.

Nassau IDA board chairman Richard Kessel said county officials are grateful that the 57-year-old company decided to bolster its Long Island base. “We’re very positive about your project,” he told executives at last month’s IDA meeting.

Frequency reported a loss of $24 million for the year ended April 30, compared with a loss of $5 million a year earlier. Revenue totaled $39 million, down from $50 million in 2017. 

The company was founded by Martin Bloch, who now serves as chief scientist and executive board chairman.

CORRECTION

Due to incorrect information provided by the Nassau IDA, a previous version of this story listed a sales tax exemption of up to $265,000 on the purchase of construction materials and equipment for the building upgrade. The actual sales tax exemption is up to $152,000.

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