Fenner Precision to close Buffalo operation

August 20, 2014 Updated Aug 20, 2014 at 7:46 AM EDT

By David Bertola, Buffalo Business First

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August 20, 2014 Updated Aug 20, 2014 at 7:46 AM EDT

Unless a commercial buyer can be found Fenner Precision's Buffalo facility will close on Dec. 31.

The 60 employees were told of the decision earlier this week.

Earlier this month, the company told employees that it was undertaking a business review of the Buffalo facility.

"We conducted a comprehensive review of the facility and its operations, and have made the difficult decision to proceed with closure," Ray Rutkowski, president and managing director of Fenner Precision, said in a statement.

The company release went on to say that the decision was not a reflection on Buffalo employees. Rather, it was a strategic decision. The closing is expected to take several months, and employees can remain with Fenner until the close date.

"We have a committed, hard-working team of employees in Buffalo, and we understand the effect this will have on them," said Rutkowski. "We are grateful for their service to our company and we will work closely with them during this transition."

In 2008, Fenner acquired the former Winfield Industries Inc., located at 852 Kensington Avenue. Terms of the deal were not disclosed though Winfield's assets were reported as being worth just under $5 million.

At the time of the sale, Winfield had made polyurethane and silicone rollers for digital imaging, medical and diagnostic imaging applications, and had employed 130 in its 90,000-square-foot facility. In 2008, about half of Winfield's products were being shipped overseas, and the goal was to boost business by using Fenner's global sales force. The Fenner website says that through the Winfield acquisition, Fenner Precision "added market-leading chemistry and expertise in high performance polymer based rollers and tires to their global line of engineered products. This combined company now provides an even more comprehensive line of solutions a variety of applications."

Fenner Precision operates out of Manheim, Pa., and is part of the Fenner Group, and headquartered in Hull, England. Fenner manufactures polyurethane mini-pitch timing belts, rubber flat belts, seals, fabrics, rollers and tires for office automation and paper propulsion applications.