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Spectronics to sell unit, plans move to Suffolk, company executive says

Spectronics president Jon Cooper outside his Lloyd Harbor

Spectronics president Jon Cooper outside his Lloyd Harbor home on June 12. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Spectronics Corp., a Westbury maker of ultraviolet devices and fluorescent dyes, is selling a business unit and moving to Suffolk County, a top executive said.

Spectronics president Jon Cooper said the 65-year-old family business is selling its unit that makes products to check for cracks in oil pipelines and aircraft engines as well its consumer product line, including the CellBlaster UV sanitizing case for mobile phones.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The buyer, Ten Oaks Group, a Charlotte, North Carolina, investment firm, plans to rehire most of the 45 Spectronics employees from the unit that was sold and form a new company, Spectro-UV, based in Farmingdale, Cooper said.

Calls and online messages to Ten Oaks Group, a vehicle for private equity investors, were not immediately returned.

"The decision was not made lightly," Cooper said. "Although this transaction will necessitate downsizing of positions at Spectronics," Cooper added, "most employees will be offered positions at the new company." 

The deal is expected to close by mid- to late July.

Spectronics, meanwhile is in the process of selling its 95,000-square-foot Westbury office and manufacturing facility with a closing date scheduled for Aug. 5.

The company plans to move into a 25,000-square-foot office building and a 42,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, both in Melville, by early December.

Cooper said the sale will allow Spectronics, whose headcount will go from 145 to about 100, to focus on its products used by automakers worldwide to detect leaks in air conditioners and by the U.S. Navy to repair leaks in the reactors of its nuclear submarines.

"Almost every car manufacturer in the world uses our technology," Cooper said. "We have hundreds of original equipment manufacturers … and no one has ever heard of us."

Cooper, a former majority leader of the Suffolk County Legislature, said the company is seeking financial incentives from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.

"We're applying for tax incentives," Cooper said. "We wanted to try to remain on Long Island. We have a loyalty to the region, but there's a high cost on Long Island for manufacturers."

Cooper said the new company, Spectro-UV, will include the research and development team investigating development of far-UVC lamps as a potential weapon in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Standard UVC light, used for disinfection in hospitals, is harmful to human skin and generally is used in areas when people are not present.

The short wavelength of far UVC light, by contrast, does not appear to damage human cells, according to some researchers.

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