Bradenton's Creonix sold, will lay off 69, move to Brooksville

Nearly 70 employees expected to lose jobs starting Aug. 1

cschelle@bradenton.comJune 15, 2013 

MANATEE -- The Bradenton electronics manufacturer that makes red light cameras and Tasers has been sold to an Illinois company and plans to lay off most of its workforce here.

Sparton Corp., based in Schaumburg, Ill., purchased Creonix in an all-cash transaction on June 6, and employees received their layoff notices this week. Creonix will move to Sparton's Brooksville plant in Hernando County, according to an announcement by Sparton.

Sixty-nine employees are expected to lose their job, according to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The Creonix plant, 2145 63rd Ave. E, is expected to close Sept. 30, and layoffs are expected to begin Aug. 1, Creonix CEO Ken Piela wrote to Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston in a June 10 letter, even though the plant is not within Bradenton city limits.

Creonix, founded in 1988, was granted $121,000 in incentives from Manatee County in 2011 if it produced 105 jobs over the next five years.

Karen Stewart, program manager for the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, said the agency is investigating to see how much, if any, of the incentive Cre

onix would have to repay. The company did not bill the county for a tax rebate in 2012 based on the five-year incentive deal, Stewart said.

Creonix is an electronics manufacturer that assembles a variety of components and products for various companies, including for the military and aerospace industries. Creonix also has a sales office in New Milford, Conn.

"We are pleased to join the Sparton team," Piela said in a news release. "With the additional support and enhanced capabilities Sparton has to offer, we expect to be able to fulfill our customers' needs in a more timely and effective manner."

Piela will be retained by Sparton to oversee the transition for the company's operations in Brooskville, according to the deal.

"We are pleased to have Creonix move into our Brooksville location which will further enhance our operation's capabilities," said Robert Grimm, vice president and general manager of Sparton's Complex Systems.

The breakdown of job losses, according to Piela, are:

• Thirty seven in assembly

• Fifteen in quality/testing

• Six in shipping/receiving

• Six professional positions

• Three management positions

• Two sales positions

Creonix has not been in contact with Suncoast Workforce, the regional job agency that offers services to assist employers enacting layoffs, said Sally Hill, spokeswoman for the agency.

"We would contact the employer to see what needs he had and to see if they would want our outplacement services," Hill said.

Creonix is not covered under the WARN act, and voluntarily furnished the notice, Piela wrote in his letter. The employers are not represented by a union, he added.

A Creonix employee who declined to be named for fear of being fired, told the Herald that he believes the company does good work, but many employees are disappointed in the deal and layoffs.

"It's a stab in the back of everyone who worked so hard," he said.

The acquisition is part of Sparton's expansion into the military and aerospace markets. They also have added cable and wire harness engineering and assembly, said Cary B. Wood, president and chief executive officer of Sparton.

The move is also expected to enhance Complex System's earnings before interest, Wood said, with Creonix bringing $12 million of revenue into the company.

Sparton recorded $63.9 million in third-quarter sales, up 16 percent from the third quarter in fiscal 2012, according to the company's earnings' report.

Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.

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