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January 23. 2013 10:57PM

Governor tours Merrimack's Nanocomp, urges it to seek proposed tax credit


 
MERRIMACK - The governor on Wednesday touted the success of a local business, saying she hopes it will soon be able to take advantage of an expanded state research and development tax credit.

While visiting Nanocomp Technologies, Inc., Gov. Maggie Hassan said she is encouraging New Hampshire businesses like Nanocomp to seek the tax credit that was supported by the Senate Ways and Means Committee earlier this week.

The proposed legislation - if approved - will extend and double the research and development tax credit, which Hassan believes will encourage innovative businesses and prospective businesses in the state.

Although Nanocomp, a company that produces carbon-based advanced materials, does not currently take advantage of the tax credit, officials there say they hope to in the near future.

Once the Merrimack business begins making a profit, which President and CEO Peter Antoinette expects will occur in about 18 months, he said the tax credit will be more feasible.

The expansion of the research and development tax credit is a key component of Hassan's Innovate New Hampshire jobs plan to help state businesses succeed and attract new businesses to the state.

Hassan's visit to Nanocomp was part of her statewide Innovate New Hampshire tour. During a tour of the facility on Wednesday, Antoinette explained his company's vision as a commercial producer of high performance, strong, light and conductive sheets, tapes and yarns that are made with carbon nanotube fibers.

The carbon nanotube materials are incredibly beneficial, according to Antoinette, who said they are lighter in weight and can be used by engineers today.

While the company started out in the military business in 2004, it has grown significantly with 55 employees - a number that is expected to double in the next year or two, according to company officials.

Antoinette said he hopes the advanced materials will eventually replace typical wire and cable.

"The yarn can replace copper as the core conductor, and the tape can replace metal sheeting and reduce weight by as much as 70 percent," he said. "That is meaningful. That is real money."

The products will eventually replace metals in various markets, including aerospace and defense, aviation and other commercial markets, according to Antoinette. One of its products is now being used to enhance body armor systems, he said, adding he anticipates that carbon nanotube fibers will impact numerous industries like aluminum did 100 years ago.

While Nanocomp only uses about 30,000 square feet of its facility at 57 Daniel Webster Highway, it has major plans to expand into an already existing, vacant 30,000 square feet attachment this year, and an additional space of 40,000 square feet in 2015.

Nanocomp, according to Antoinette, can be the leader of a whole new technology for the state and the country.

Peter Kujawski, business development director at Nanocomp, said he was honored and pleased that the governor chose to visit their company within her first month in office.

"It speaks volumes of her interests to promote high technology companies in New Hampshire," he said.

khoughton@newstote.com

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