Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Manufacturing : A Sudden End

Although attracting little attention – probably because of the remote location – Business Products proved one of CDA's "Quiet Achievers".

Flash reported sales of $1.08 million in November, 1985 and annual revenue of $7.7 million, some $1.8 million higher than the previous year (compare this with the “$1.8 to $2.25 predicted for 1978)... yet Business Products and CDA's manufacturing operations ceased to exist a month later!

Production Manager at the time was Dick Bament who recalls getting a phone call in early December from somebody in the U.S. asking him to get on a plane ASAP for an urgent meeting in Silicon Valley.

On arrival, he was greeted with the news that the financially-troubled CDC had sold Business Products to group called Xidex Corporation in the Silicon Valley who wanted to retain the sales people, but manufacturing was to close by Christmas.

Dick managed to negotiate so that 50 percent of the 70 to 75 people then employed in the plant would go by Christmas and the balance by the end of January.

Approximately $4 million worth of stock was sitting in the warehouse – presumably then the property of Xidex - and he spent the next two months shutting the plant down, assisting employees where he could to find alternative work, selling off the equipment, and effectively ending Control Data's manufacturing in Australia.

Off the sales staff - Ray Hull and Cliff Maxwell are two names I recall, but there was at least another - I do not know,

I know Ken Evans and his secretary Vicki Graham moved to 493 St. Kilda Raod - Ken later transferred to a marketing position in Sydney (I think rather unhappily) and Vicki joined Xidex; the circumstances unknown to me.

Xidex Australia

Xidex established their local presence in a 1930s red-brick building at 252 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne, almost directly behind the Town Hall.  

They later appear to have targeted the wholesale market, in particular via a distributor Dataflex who supplied a number of Federal Government departments, but I could find no trace of the the Xidex name after early 1990.

Digging a little further, a report in the Los Angeles Time in October 1988 revealed that Xidex Corp., was closing its Irvine, CA plant and discharging 825 workers “in one of the largest layoffs in Orange County history”.  

The shutdown came just six weeks after the company was acquired for $400 million by Anacomp, one f its big customers. “Anacomp is an Indianapolis manufacturer of computer systems and software and a leading manufacturer of computer graphics systems”.

“Xidex decided to consolidate the disk business at its Santa Clara headquarters after Seagate Technology--its biggest customer--cancelled millions of dollars worth of orders, a spokesman for Xidex's new parent company, Anacomp Inc., said on Thursday”.

"I got here at 3 p.m., and my boss said I should clean out my desk and locker, everything," said Hai V. Phan, an electronic engineer technician who has been with the company for four years. Phan was among those employees who were laid off Thursday.

The layoffs come only six weeks after Xidex was acquired for $400 million by Anacomp, another of its big customers. Anacomp is an Indianapolis manufacturer of computer systems and software and a leading manufacturer of computer graphics systems.