NORTH MANCHESTER — A Fort Wayne businessman has acquired a Japanese firm in his hometown of North Manchester that serves the automotive and packaging industries.

Intertech Holdings on Oct. 5 announced the acquisition of Oji Intertech, Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-headquartered Oji Interpack Co. Ltd., with its origins to 1873.

Wayne Robison, who's from North Manchester, now owns the company, which will operate as Intertech Products, Inc. It serves the automotive/transportation and industrial packaging industries, with compression molding, die cutting, assembly and extrusion coating/laminating.

Robison, who lives in Fort Wayne and has run Robison and Associates, a turnaround consultancy and optimization business for 18 years, learned that Oji was going to divest itself of the North Manchester site.

"The company Oji had decided they were going to divest some of their assets and concentrate on their core businesses in Japan," Robison said. "The company here in North Manchester was not considered one of their core businesses."

The parent company mentioned to Rick Sereno, who has served over 30 years at Oji Intertech, about their plans. Sereno knew Robison was in the market for potential acquisitions and approached him.

The North Manchester location has around 100 employees and annual sales nearing $30 million.

In 2018, the company announced it would invest $4.5 million to double its 80,000-square-foot plant at 906 W. Hanley Road in North Manchester. That happened and now the plant is 160,000 square feet on 24 acres, "with plenty of room to double again," with Robison saying long-term plans call for more growth.

Sereno and his management team "and their agreement to stay in place and continue to drive the business forward was one the things that cinched the deal for me," Robison said.

"On my behalf as well as the employees, we're really excited to have the new ownership and the promise of future expansion right here," Sereno said. "I know I've heard a lot of feedback that having that local connection is comforting."

Robison said he's been in business a long time and has looked at many opportunities, "but to be able to do something in my hometown; my parents still live in North manchester, my dad was a professor at the college for 35 years; my daughter is currently a professor at the university there. So, just being able to do something in North Manchester is just a real thrill for me."

North Manchester Town Manager Adam Penrod said in the news release, “Intertech Products is one of the largest companies in North Manchester, employing approximately 100 people. The success of industry within a community determines the growth and vibrancy of the area, and it’s exciting to see a successful local business leader invest in the future of this important company, and ultimately in our community.”

Founded as Eften Inc. in 1985, the company moved to North Manchester in 1998 and changed its name to Oji Intertech in 2002 to align with its parent company.
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