GSBDC Assists Atlas Fence with Building Acquisition

Posted 03.03.14

Loan: SBA 504

Started by John Czebiniak in 1979, Atlas Fence (AF) has operated as the premier fencing contractor in Upstate New York, covering a wide geographic area from Albany to Buffalo, and the St. Lawrence River to Binghamton serving a broad variety of business sectors including residential, industrial, municipal and private contractors.  The assets of the company were purchased by Christopher Polimino in February 2012.  While Polimino did not have experience operating a fence fabrication and installation business, he had extensive experience in the construction/contracting and heavy equipment industries, most recently serving as Chief Operating and Financial Officer for Tracey Road Equipment, a distributor of heavy equipment and trucks.  Polimino had previous experience in public accounting as a CPA, working with a variety of industries as an auditor.

With the successful transition of ownership and management implemented, Polimino sought assistance from his lender, NBT Bank to determine the most advantageous means of financing the acquisition of the building AF was operating from.  The purchase, located at 6852 Manlius Center Road in East Syracuse, NY included a 2.83 acre site improved with an 8,294 sq. ft. office/showroom building, a 2,355 sq. ft. heated shop, and a 6,100 sq. ft. storage shed for the operations of the fence sales and installation business. 

The project financing, structured using the SBA 504 program was key to minimizing the down payment requirement to 10%, and conserving cash needed for implementation of Polimino’s business expansion plan.  NBT Bank provided 50% of the financing in a first mortgage position with the Greater Syracuse Business Development Corporation (GSBDC) providing a 20 year fixed-rate second mortgage for 40% of the project cost through the SBA 504 program.  The financing structure also included allocations for the cost of the environmental, appraisal and other soft costs such as title insurance and mortgage tax.  According to Bob Vertucci, Vice-President, Commercial Banking, NBT Bank “The SBA 504 program was a perfect match for the company’s long range business plan.  Not only did it provide an avenue to preserve capital up front, it also allowed Atlas Fence to take advantage of extended terms, reducing the overall annual debt service.  This gives Chris the ability to redirect the cash flow savings back into the business which will assist with future growth.”

The acquisition of the existing Atlas Fence location will allow the company to continue to be competitive and focus on long term growth.  Chris Polimino added that “In addition to the SBA 504 financing, the New York State Linked Deposit Program will also reduce interest expense on this transaction and allow for more capital to purchase new equipment and hire additional employees.  The entire transaction was made easy as a result of the incredible support from the people at NBT Bank and the GSBDC.  I would encourage every business owner to take advantage of these great resources that New York State, the GSBDC and the SBA have to offer.”

AF currently employs 46.  Polimino projects to add at least 5 jobs over the next 2-3 years.