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Group asking banks to help LI defense firms weather shutdown

Bolivar Rodriguez, of Ronkonkoma, is a machine operator

Bolivar Rodriguez, of Ronkonkoma, is a machine operator at B & B Precision Components in Brentwood and uses a Bridgeport milling machine to make defense-related parts. (May 6, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

A group that assists Long Island defense companies told its members Wednesday it is asking local banks to offer lines of credit in case the companies' cash flow is interrupted by the federal government shutdown.

The 50-member Aerospace and Defense Diversification Alliance in Peacetime Transition, or ADDAPT, said it also is contacting local congressmen in an attempt to get the federal inspectors who must clear shipments of hardware back to work, by deeming them essential employees. ADDAPT president Jamie Moore said in the communication he's been promised help from Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington).

Moore said one bank so far had expressed interest in offering the credit lines: privately held Gold Coast Bank, a five-branch lender based in Islandia with about $240 million in total assets.

In an interview, Moore said he envisioned companies needing credit lines of between $100,000 and $400,000.

"The big concern for these guys is cash flow," he said, if the shutdown is not reversed quickly.

Long Island defense company executives interviewed Monday generally expected little short-term impact on their companies from the government shutdown, but they worried about future contracts and said shipments to their customers -- and payments to their companies -- could be delayed if the closure were to last more than a few weeks.

Gold Coast president and chief executive Joseph G. Perri said in an interview Wednesday that problems could arise sooner for some of the smallest companies that work under contracts for larger assemblers and suppliers,. "They need this money, they need this cash flow," Perri said. "They don't have the excess funds -- sort of like people who live paycheck to paycheck."

The last rigorous study of the defense industry, done in 2008, found 830 companies on Long Island employing a total of about 30,000 people doing at least some defense, aerospace or homeland security work.

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