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Rexon Inc. Will Close Headquarters and Move to Ohio

October 25, 1994|Jack Searles

Rexon Inc., whose Wangtek computer cartridge division was one of Simi Valley's largest employers as recently as the late 1980s, is joining the list of companies that are saying goodby to Southern California.

At the end of the year, Rexon will close the Wangtek plant, long an industrial landmark on Moreland Road. Rexon's corporate headquarters, which moved into that building from Manhattan Beach only last January, will be relocated to Solon, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb.

The moves, part of a series of steps aimed at revitalizing Rexon's earnings and operations, will mean a loss of 140 Ventura County jobs.

About 50 employees are expected to transfer to Ohio or to a newly opened plant in Longmont, Colo. The rest will be laid off or will leave voluntarily, said Rexon spokesman J. Embry.

As recently as 1989, Wangtek had a payroll of 350. A pioneer maker of quarter-inch cartridges used as computer memories and backups, it had to cut back because of the recession and increased competition in the computer industry, Embry said.

While Rexon hopes to improve efficiency by shutting down in Simi Valley, Embry said the action isn't being prompted by California's regulatory climate, which some critics contend is anti-business.

"If California had offered to make us tax-free for 10 years, we still would have come to this decision," he declared.

This month, he noted, Rexon closed its tape-drive facility in Irvine, transferring the work that was done there to Colorado.

The moves are part of a restructuring effort launched last year, when Rexon reported a loss of $53 million caused by the recession and asset write-downs.

A new chairman and chief executive, Robert C. Genesi, succeeded longtime company head Michael O. Preletz in January. The company has indicated that it expects to show a modest profit for fiscal 1994, which ended Sept. 30.

Rexon, a worldwide producer of software and computer data-storage systems, has annual sales of about $200 million and 1,000 employees in such locations as California, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Puerto Rico and Singapore. After the Simi Valley plant is shuttered, the only remaining California operation will be a small engineering unit in Fresno.

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