State Senator Bruce Maloch (D-Magnolia), a bank executive with decades of experience, says his initial review of the Big River Steel Mill proposal that the legislature must approve looks positive.

“The equity investors are at about $300 million on a $1.1 billion project. Usually when we’re looking at business lending, we’ll look for maybe a 70% loan to the value of the project,” Maloch said. “They’re at 30% and that’s good.”

Maloch, appearing on Talk Business Arkansas, said a question he wants more insight on is how much capacity for the steel Big River will produce exists in the marketplace.

He said there is some pressure to approve the deal if the state wants to be considered for other major projects.

“There’s a balance on that like anything else,” said Maloch. “My initial inclination is that it’s good for the state, but we have to do due diligence… so far I”m liking what I see.”

Maloch also said that while the $125 million bond issue to support one mega-project would have direct and ancillary benefits, a part of him wouldn’t mind seeing money like that spread around to help small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

You can watch his full interview below or listen to a mp3 audio file at this link.

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Roby Brock
Roby Brock is the Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics. He can be reached by e-mail at Roby@TalkBusiness.net. Follow him on Twitter: @RobyBrock.