Another public company in Atlanta lands $1.8 million in PPP funding

Global pharmaceutical company Alimera Sciences (NASDAQ: ALIM) announced Thursday that it received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan for approximately $1.8 million. 

The Alpharetta-based company, which specializes in the commercialization and development of prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals to treat retinal diseases, secured the loan through HSBC Bank USA.

“Our employee base is critical to continuing to serve our physician customers both now and when this pandemic subsides. Therefore, we intend to retain all our staff during this crisis,” said Rick Eiswirth, Alimera’s president and CEO. “Receiving this funding from the federal government is very helpful to executing on this plan.”

Alimera can apply for PPP loan forgiveness if the money is used for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utility costs during an eight week period that began when funds were disbursed on April 21. The company must maintain its number of full-time employees and use at least 75% of the funds for payroll costs in order for the loan to be forgivable.

The company has 122 full-time employees and generated $53.9 million in revenue in 2019. 

Large public companies have been criticized for accepting significant amounts of money from the Small Business Administration (SBA) PPP, the $349 billion program meant to assist small businesses, created by Congress in the CARES Act. 

Shake Shack (NYSE: SHAK) returned a $10 million loan after public pressure. 

In Atlanta, Perma-Fix Environmental Services (NASDAQ: PESI) secured $5.7 million in PPP funding.  

The first round of funding for PPP ran out on April 16. The Senate passed a bill with an additional $310 billion for PPP loans on Tuesday and the president is expected to sign it into law by the end of the week. The bill also sets aside $60 billion of the PPP money for small businesses that do not have established banking relationships in an effort to make sure rural and minority-owned businesses are included in this round of funding. 

New guidance from the SBA on Thursday made it less likely that large public companies would receive PPP loans. 

“Borrowers still must certify in good faith that their PPP loan request is necessary,” the SBA said. “It is unlikely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets will be able to make the required certification in good faith, and such a company should be prepared to demonstrate to SBA, upon request, the basis for its certification.”

The SBA also urged borrowers that don’t meet this certification criteria and applied for a PPP loan prior to this guidance to return their money in full by May 7.

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