Majority of PPP money in Mass. went to a small number of companies

Of the billions of dollars Massachusetts companies received as part of the Paycheck Protection Program, more than half of the money went to fewer than 5 percent of the companies who received loans, according to data released Tuesday night from the Small Business Administration.

Details on the Treasury Department’s federal lending program, which was designed to help small businesses withstand the pandemic, show a relatively small number of businesses — and some well-known chains — have received most of the funds, both nationally and locally.

In Massachusetts, nearly 118,000 companies were approved for loans, totaling more than $14 billion in PPP aid, according to the SBA. Just 2 percent of recipients, or 2,382 companies, received more than one-third of the total loan amounts, each receiving at least $1 million in loans.

Fifteen companies were approved for loans of $10 million each, the maximum award amount. According to SBA data, those top borrowers include several local restaurant chains: Legal Sea Foods, Uno Restaurants, PR Restaurants LLC (the operator of 64 Panera restaurants), and the owner of Papa Gino’s Pizzeria and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches.

The SBA previously released data on PPP, but just on recipients of $150,000 or more, and only showed ranges for loan amounts. By contrast, the new release includes all of the more than 5 million loan recipients in the US, and the exact amount each was awarded. The SBA said the data only includes active loans, meaning it excludes any that “were cancelled for any reason.”

However, the SBA release still leaves questions. Some companies, including more than 23,500 in Massachusetts, either didn’t report the number of jobs they retained using the loan or listed it as zero. The goal of the PPP program is to incentivize small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. It is also unclear at this point which loans will be forgiven.

Businesses can apply to have 100 percent of their loan forgiven up to 10 months after the funds are spent, as long as the money is spent on eligible expenses, such as payroll costs, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. The SBA stopped taking loan applications in August.

Other Massachusetts companies listed for $10 million loans include security guard company Northeast Security and dairy cooperative Agri-Mark, which makes Cabot cheese. Tom Brady’s health and performance company, TB12, was awarded a loan of about $961,000.

Todd Wallack of the Globe staff contributed to this report. He can be reached at todd.wallack@globe.com.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.

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