The California Industrial Development Financing Advisory Commission Wednesday approved $10 million of tax-exempt financing to help a family-owned candy company in Oakland expand by acquiring a mothballed Hershey’s factory in the Central Valley.
Sconza Candy Co. will use $10 million of tax-exempt bonds plus $3.3 million of taxable bonds to buy the old Hershey’s facility, which sent its last peanut butter cups out the door in February.
The 41-year-old Sconza firm had reached capacity at its Oakland facility, and needed more room to grow, according to the CIDFAC staff report. It plans to bring 90 jobs to the new facility in Oakdale, about 90 miles east, and add 160 more within two years.
“The city of Oakdale took a big hit with the closing of the Hershey’s plant and the loss of more than 500 jobs,” state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, the CIDFAC chairman, said in a statement. “That’s why the Sconza project is so significant. This money will give a family-owned company the opportunity to expand their business and at the same time bring back 250 jobs to the local economy.”
Sconza produces chocolate- and yogurt-covered nuts and fruits, and sugar-coated nuts and candies.
The California Enterprise Development Authority will issue the bonds, which will be variable rate, repayable over a 25-year period, and secured by an irrevocable letter of credit issued by Wells Fargo Bank NA, according to the staff report.
Westhoff, Cone & Holmstedt is underwriter. Lofton & Jennings is bond counsel. Progressive Capital is financial adviser.