MAKEOVER Waters Instruments sells Rochester plant

By Bob Freund

PLYMOUTH, Minn. -- Waters Instruments Inc. has negotiated the sale of its 66,000-square-foot plant in Rochester to a local group of investors, president Jerry Grabowski confirmed this morning.

At the same time, "We'll still have a presence in Rochester," the executive said. The manufacturing company, which operates three divisions, plans to continue its production of medical and computer networking units in town.

Waters has been trying to divest its factory in an industrial park on the city's west side for the past two years, he said. In August 2001, Waters acquired North Central Plastics of Ellendale and agreed to lease its 64,000-square-foot plant from the company's principals, who owned the real estate. Waters' largest and biggest-selling operation, Zareba Systems, produces electric fences and components there.


"As soon as we close the Rochester facility, we'll buy the Ellendale facility," Grabowski said.

The $1.8 million sale is expected to be completed on Oct. 31. The group includes well-known commercial real estate businessman Ron Braasch.

Waters' plans for a production site after the sale remained unsettled today. However, Grabowski said the company might try to lease space at the same site from the new owners.

In July, Waters also sold off a small North Central Plastics plant in Fall River, Mass. Its production, which was plastic-encased wire and tape, was moved to Ellendale with the rest of the electric fencing manufacturing. Four or five workers were affected there.

At the end of its fiscal year, June 30, Water employed 105 workers, with 93 full timers. About 20 of those are at Rochester.

Although the company's accounting department has remained in Rochester, its formal headquarters is in Plymouth, Minn.

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