Veeco Instruments to close Colorado plant

A mechanical engineer holds a data wafer at A mechanical engineer holds a data wafer at the Veeco Instruments plant in Plainview in 2012. Photo Credit: Chris Ware

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Veeco Instruments Inc. will close its plant in Fort Collins, Colo., and offer about a third of that facility's 31 employees the opportunity to transfer to Plainview, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

Veeco, which makes equipment used by manufacturers of data storage devices, light-emitting diodes and other devices, said it plans to discontinue some products made in Colorado and move operations to Plainview, also the site of its corporate headquarters. The company didn't say whether employment in Plainview would grow beyond any employees who transfer.

The plan to shutter the facility was disclosed in a March 12 filing with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

"There's still a lot of uncertainty," Veeco spokesman Jeffrey Pina said of employee relocation plans. "It's all based on people's decisions."

The Long Island company's filing under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act said the Fort Collins plant's employees, including managers, analysts and engineers, would be laid off effective June 30, Sept. 30, and March 30, 2015, and would have no "bumping rights" allowing them to take the jobs of less senior personnel elsewhere.

The 26,000-square-foot facility has a lease that runs until 2018 and is one of Veeco's nine North American locations, according to the company website and Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company is evaluating other opportunities within Veeco for the remaining employees, the spokesman said.

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The Colorado facility makes equipment for ion beam etching and deposition used in making data storage devices. The plant closure is designed to promote growth by enhancing efficiency and consolidating operations, Pina said.

Veeco posted a fourth quarter net loss of $22.1 million as sales of manufacturing equipment for LED makers remained weak due to a glut. LEDs are used in home lighting and to illuminate TVs and computer screens.

A major manufacturer in Asia has been testing Veeco's equipment used to produce flexible, organic light-emitting-diode screens that could be used in "wearable" computers.

Shares of Veeco slipped 4 cents Tuesday to close at $41.94.

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