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Hydro-Air cuts 24 jobs

Hydro-Air Components has cut 24 jobs at its South Buffalo plant in the second round of employment reductions in four months by the commercial heating and cooling equipment manufacturer.

"A lot of the commercial construction projects have either been delayed or put on hold," said Tony Scime, Hydro-Air's operations manager.

The latest job cuts leave the company with about 130 salaried and hourly employees, Scime said. The company cut 30 jobs in mid-November because of the slowing economy.

The downturn has persisted, with companies reluctant to commit to new projects while so much uncertainty swirls over the economy, Scime said.

"Everyone's playing it pretty tight these days," he said.

The job cuts are a significant reversal from the upbeat forecasts of rapid growth that Hydro-Air executives spelled out in 2006 as the company was granted more than $4 million in incentives from state and local economic development officials to help back its move from Hamburg.

The company, which predicted that it would add 200 jobs over an 18-month period to its 114-person work force at the time the new $10 million plant was announced, also had threatened to move to North Carolina.

Hydro-Air moved to its new plant off Abby Street in South Buffalo in early 2007, shortly after the company was acquired by Zehnder Group AG, a Swiss firm, during the summer of 2006.

Hydro-Air dates to 1946, when Charles Rittling founded Rittling Heat Transfer.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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