SANFORD (AP) – The former owner of a machine shop that did $14.5 million in business a year and had a 130-member work force when he sold it two years ago has resurrected the company from bankruptcy.

Robert Martin blames the collapse of Atlantic Precision Products on poor management and is working to gradually bring back some of the lost jobs.

Martin, 49, had retired and moved to Floria after selling the company to Allied Devices Corp. of Hicksville, N.Y. In February Allied Devices filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and moved to quickly shut down the Sanford machine shop and lay off its 72 employees.

Martin said when he heard about the bankruptcy he started to worry about his former employees. Within a few days he decided to try to buy back some of the equipment and reopen the shop.

“They made me the first time. I felt I owed it to give them a chance again,” he said.

The company reopened with eight employees earlier this month. As of this week, it had 15 employees and Martin expects to double that by the fall.

Martin’s father, Carl, started the business in 1962 as a tool and dye shop in Biddeford making plastic injection molds for shoes. The company shifted to computerized numerical machining, making high precision steel parts and parts from exotic materials used by the naval and aerospace industry. In 1998 it employed about 70 with sales of about $9.6 million a year.

“I just took advantage of the marketplace. Everything was hot,” said Martin.

By the time Martin sold the company to Allied Devices in a phased-in buyout, there were 130 on staff. Allied Devices moved Atlantic Precision to Sanford.

When the company filed for bankruptcy, chief executive officer Mark Hopkinson said Allied’s business had fallen 60 percent since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. For fiscal year 2002, ending last September, Allied reported revenues of $18.2 million, and a net loss of $8.5 million.

Martin is spending about about $1.5 million in bank business loans and out of his own pocket to attract new business and is hiring at the same pay levels in place before the bankruptcy. Martin said he lost about $6 million in the bankruptcy still due him from Allied Devices but that was not his main motivation in resurrecting the company.

“I had a team of loyal people who worked with and for me. When I sold, I figured they were all set for the rest of their lives as far as good jobs,” said Martin.

AP-ES-04-29-03 0217EDT



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