Saturday, December 16, 2017
Business

Sparton acquires Bradenton manufacturer, plans move to Hernando County

BROOKSVILLE — The workforce at the Sparton Electronic Devices plant in Hernando County soon will be growing.

Sparton Corp., the Illinois parent company, announced that it has acquired Creonix LLC, an electronics manufacturer in Bradenton, and will transfer the firm's operations to Hernando.

That means that the Sparton facility, which over the years has manufactured everything from sonobuoys to circuit boards for military, aerospace and medical customers, will take on the business of Creonix, which includes building red-light cameras and components of Tasers.

Sparton has offered jobs to all 69 of the employees in Bradenton, but anticipates only some will move to the facility east of Brooksville, according to Sparton spokesman Mike Osborne.

Moving the company to Hernando will take place over the coming months, with completion by the end of the year, Osborne said. He said he did not have the final number of jobs that will be new to Hernando.

The cash acquisition of Creonix's assets was completed June 6, and the addition is expected to provide Sparton with $12 million in annual revenue, according to a news release from Sparton.

"We are pleased to join the Sparton team,'' Creonix chief executive officer Ken Piela was quoted as saying. "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 oversee the transition and the integration of Creonix customers with Sparton. He will also maintain current contracts and work to expand future customer accounts.

Michael McHugh, Hernando County's business development manager, said he was pleased to hear that Sparton's presence in Hernando is growing again.

"Sparton went through an absolute renaissance a couple of years ago,'' McHugh said. "They are now in an acquisition and growth mode. They've become quite a strong competitor.''

In the 1980s, Sparton was Hernando County's top manufacturer, boasting between 700 and 800 jobs. But by late in the last decade, the recession had taken its toll. Sparton closed several of its facilities, and the workforce shrank across the operation.

Fewer than 180 people were working at the Hernando County plant in 2009 when the County Commission approved nearly $90,000 in job retention incentives for the company to keep it from moving elsewhere. The latest county estimate of employment at the plant is 180.

McHugh said it was good to see Sparton growing again, and he noted that it had been involved in other recent acquisitions.

"This is just another example,'' he said. "It's great to see these additional jobs and investment coming here.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

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