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10/17/2006 10:50:00 AM
Acquisition likely to result in layoffs for Garrett's Invisible Technologies

Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

The new owner of Garrett-based Invisible Technologies is relocating some of the company's work force and likely will cut jobs, but it plans to keep at least two of the company's operations in the area.

"We will keep the call center and the Invisible Fence team in Garrett," said Doug Grindstaff, vice president for Knoxville, Tenn.-based Radio Systems Corp., which acquired Invisible Technologies last month from Kohlberg & Co.

Grindstaff said executives are reviewing every position at both locations and "working diligently to let every associate know what our plan is for their position."

"Our objectives are to grow the Innotek and Invisible Fence brands and to ensure that we have the most talented work force in the industry. We expect this process will result in the elimination of positions at ITI and RSC."

At the time of the acquisition, Invisible Technologies in Garrett employed about 150 in developing and marketing electronic pet products. It has outsourced its production for more than a year.

Radio Systems is in the same business, and though it has said it plans to operate Invisible Technologies as a subsidiary, it also is looking for cost rationalization opportunities and ways to improve efficiencies through the acquisition.

"I'm sure there will be (some), but it's all under review right now," said Randy Boyd, chief executive officer, earlier this month.

Boyd said earlier the company was weighing whether to proceed with a plan announced in December to move all of its Garrett operations to Fort Wayne.

Invisible Technologies was to relocate to a newly renovated, 65,000-square-foot facility at 5620 Industrial Road in the northern portion of Fort Wayne, which would house all sales, marketing, product development, customer support, distribution and administrative staff.

Among other things, the move would enable the company to serve customers with a more efficient distribution process.

The move was scheduled to take place in mid-October, but "the plans are under review and we have decided to delay the move until early next year," Boyd said earlier this month.

"The probability is that we will continue to move the business to Fort Wayne, but we needed a bit of time to review the business before we pick up and move it immediately."

Executives have not said whether a decision on the Fort Wayne facility has been reached, but an employee at Invisible Technologies who requested anonymity said Radio Systems won't need that much space because it doesn't plan to keep a majority of the acquired company's work force.

"It's my understanding (almost) all the positions will be gone by April 1 if they're not part of the call center or Invisible Fence," the employee said.

The source estimated the call center and Invisible Fence employ about 30 workers.

Radio Systems owns the PetSafe, SportDOG and Staywell brands, and is a market leader in the pet electronics, underground pet fencing and pet-door categories.

The Innotek and Invisible Fence brands also are industry leaders, "and we expect to grow both brands," Grindstaff said. "ITI will continue to exist as a wholly owned subsidiary of Radio Systems Corp."

Related Stories:
• Garrett firm delays likely move to Fort Wayne

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