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Buyer of Reichert promises no job cuts Depew firm makes eye-testing instruments

As part of the acquisition of Reichert Inc., a Depew manufacturer of eye-testing instruments, the Chicago investment firm buyer promised the seller last week that the 147 jobs will stay.

"They're going to continue to grow it . . . All the key managers are staying," said Brian D'Amico, managing partner of Summer Street Capital Partners in Buffalo, the firm that sold Reichert Wednesday. "The focus is to continue to aggressively grow the company and add good jobs to Buffalo."

The buyer Beeken Petty O'Keefe & Company (BPOC), which manages $475 million in health-care related investment funds, would not disclose the purchase price.

Reichert CEO Tim Levindofske said he and other managers still own some shares of the company, just as they did before the sale.

The private equity management firm of BPOC is so well-funded that it has the money to continue the investing that has made the company stronger, Levindofske said.

"We've been adding jobs and adding many products to our portfolio over the last four years," he said. "It'll mean that the company is in a position to grow at even faster rates."

Reichert Inc. on Walden Avenue is known for inventing the phoroptor in the 1920s, a machine people still gaze through to see eye charts as contact lens and eyeglass prescriptions are calculated. The company, which has had many name changes since it was founded in 1831, was sold to Summer Street Capital in December 2002.

Before the 2002 sale, Reichert was not a separate company, but the name of a brand and division owned by the German company Leica Microsystems, which makes microscopes.

"We bought it with the management team to keep the jobs here in Buffalo," said D'Amico.

Reichert has done so well that Summer Street Capital wanted to sell so its investors could take a profit. The purchase, a year ago, of another company's "Tono-Pen" instrument used for testing for glaucoma by tapping the cornea, was part of what helped Reichert succeed.

"The business revenue doubled, or more than doubled," said D'Amico, who declined to reveal numbers. "Earnings increased sevenfold."


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