By Brian Quinn and John Anderson
WELLSVILLE — Employees at Air Preheater in Wellsville are expected to be told today who has purchased the industrial energy recovery product company, The Daily Reporter has learned.
Company President David Breckenridge has called a meeting of all employees for today at 2:30 p.m. at the Andover Road facility. Alstom also has a location on Main Street. Breckenridge has been president in Wellsville since April 1, 2010.
The company, listed as ALSTOM POWER Inc. Air Preheater Company, has been in Wellsville since 1925.
According to the company website, the company was incorporated in Wellsville on Oct. 1, 1925. The first air preheaters were supplied from Wellsville to the International Paper Company of Niagara Falls.
ALSTOM bought out ABB's 50 percent share in ABB ALSTOM Power in 2000, the website said and is now called ALSTOM Power Inc., Air Preheater Company.
Local leaders contacted Tuesday said they hadn’t heard anything definite about a sale.
County Economic Development/Industrial Development Agency Director John?Foels could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Village Mayor Judy Lynch said, “I heard that there were rumors. Nobody has told me anything.”
“Certainly, we don’t want to lose any business in Wellsville. We certainly hope that if somebody else does buy it, that they keep it in Wellsville,”?she said. “If they (those involved in the sale) want the village of Wellsville to know anything about it, they’ll get in touch with us.”
Town Supervisor Dar Fanton, who retired from Air Preheater a couple of years ago, said he hadn’t heard anything directly, but added he wouldn’t necessarily be told about a sale.
Town Councilman Donald “Tink” LaForge Jr. said he knew Air Preheater owners had been trying to sell the company, though he hadn’t heard about a sale taking place. He said he doesn’t think it’s a bad thing for a company’s ownership to change hands.
“Very seldom does anything get shut down.?I don’t think a change in ownership is going to affect them very much,”?LaForge said. “Look at Lufkin RMT (in Wellsville)?when they (were)?sold to GE, employee benefits went through the roof. They’re doing well under GE.
“Sometimes it’s a good deal. I don’t think it’s anything to be afraid of,”?he said of a sale. County Legislator Karl Graves of Wellsville said, “I?heard some rumors a little while ago about a possible sale. It was just mentioned that there was talk of sale. I don’t put a lot of credence on it until it’s confirmed.
“My only concern is for Wellsville and Allegany County and whoever purchases ALSTOM, that it stays here in Allegany County and ... that they realize the value of our workers here in Allegany?County and they continue to invest here and grow and prosper here in Allegany County,”?he said. “Hopefully, if this deal goes through, it will be a good thing for Wellsville and Allegany County.”
Graves said there’s always a concern about the future when a business’ ownership changes hands. He noted businesses have remained here even after being sold.
“Both Dresser-Rand and ALSTOM have changed hands over the years and they’ve stayed. God bless ’em — I’m glad they have. I hope that trend continues into the future,”?Graves said.
“I?think we’ve got a lot of great talent that works here. I wish them all well,”?he said. “It would be a stunning blow if something negative was to happen along those lines (if ALSTOM?leaves Wellsville).
ALSTOM Air Preheater sold
By Brian Quinn and John Anderson