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APV to open new HQ in Amherst today

APV North America, designer of equipment for food and beverage plants, plans to hold opening ceremonies for its new headquarters today in Amherst's CrossPoint Business Park.

A unit of Britain's Invensys Group, APV previously had offices with 63 jobs in the City of Tonawanda. It announced the selection of Amherst for its North America headquarters a year ago, supported by state development incentives.

The company's $2.5 million "Centre of Excellence" in Amherst houses 70 workers and plans to add 50 more, the company said. The jobs include sales, engineering, project management and technology support.

"We had a chance of losing this opportunity . . . to Chicago and Montreal," Buffalo Niagara Enterprise President Thomas Kucharski said. Those cities also house APV management offices and were in the running for the headquarters, he said.

Empire State Development will provide $250,000 in grants and training funds to support the company's investment. The package includes a $200,000 grant that's conditional on a total of 120 jobs by 2008, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

"That's the game plan," APV site manager and sales director Dwane Laufer said. The company expects to add the 50 new workers, primarily engineers, over three years.

Western New York edged Chicago and Montreal for the headquarters because of lower costs here, he said. In addition, the University at Buffalo has become an important source of engineering talent.

The 43,000 square-foot building has room for 120 workers, with advanced computing, communications and computer-aided design systems, the company said.

APV designs fluid handling systems and sells pumps, valves, homogenizers and heat exchangers. The equipment is used by food and beverage makers, brewers and health care industries.

Local customers include Rich Products, Sorrento Cheese and Perry's Ice Cream, while the national client list includes Anheuser-Busch, Tropicana and Pepsi, Laufer said.

The company makes components at plants in Goldsboro N.C.; Lake Mills, Wis.; and Concord, Ont. in Canada.

APV global president Haluk Durudogan is scheduled to attend the opening event today and deliver a talk.

The company was founded as Aluminium Plant & Vessel Co. in 1910. APV's presence in Western New York began in 1952 with the purchase of sales representative Walker & Walker, which had operations in Buffalo. The company was known as APV Equipment, then APV CREPACO after a merger in 1985. It was acquired by Invensys in a 1999 merger.

e-mail: fwilliams@buffnews.com

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