Wilmington Closes Deal to Finance DHL Expansion

WILMINGTON, Ohio - The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority has officially closed a deal to sell $270 million in tax-exempt airport revenue bonds - capping off a more than two-year financing ordeal for the expansion of the DHL Worldwide Express air freight hub in Wilmington.

Over the last year, the port has been holding off on selling the bonds at the request of DHL, said Ron Parker, executive director of the port authority.

"They waited on their financial condition to change each quarter, hoping to get a lower interest rate. Eventually, it was successful," Parker said. "It's just been a long, hard slog."

The deal follows the settlement of a lawsuit last year by the Clinton County Port Authority that had kept DHL's financing in limbo since December 2004.

Clinton County formed its own port authority and challenged Montgomery County's right to finance the deal after DHL asked the Montgomery County port authority for assistance.

DHL, which employs more than 7,000 workers at the Wilmington hub, was never a party in the lawsuit or related counter suits, but did pay the Dayton port authority's legal costs.

The financing deal was struck as part of DHL's agreement to relocate its air freight hub operation from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to Wilmington.

The closing allows the port authority to reimburse DHL for about $200 million it has spent on construction of 42 new buildings and development of 32 acres at the former Airborne Express hub.

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