Aero satcoms a top earner for EMS Technologies
The Inmarsat aeronautical equipment product line of EMS Technologies’ Ottawa-based Satcom subsidiary was a major contributor to a successful 2008 financial year that saw total corporate revenues climb to $335 million.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, EMS Technologies credits the result to significant revenue growth in its satellite communications segment, along with the strong performance of its defence and space programmes.
The company yesterday reported fourth-quarter revenues of $90.4 million and net earnings of $6.8 million. “We performed well in the final quarter of 2008, showing remarkable resilience in tough economic conditions,” said chief executive Paul Domorski. “Higher profitability in high-growth areas - satellite and defence communications - offset lower than planned profitability in our LXE logistics business.”
EMS’ satellite communications revenues for the fourth quarter were 20 per cent higher than in the corresponding period of 2007, and operating profits hit record levels. Principal contributor was EMS Satcom, which doubled its revenues from sales of core technology to OEM partners like Honeywell and Rockwell Collins as Inmarsat’s 432kbit/sec SwiftBroadband service continued to gather momentum. During the quarter EMS Satcom built up deliveries of its HSD-440 SwiftBroadband-enabled terminal and introduced two new products – the eNfusion Communications Convergence Unit (CCU) and AMT-700 high-gain antenna.
CCU is an airborne communications device that functions as a PBX, WiFi access point, server and router. The highly compact AMT-700 is designed to make SwiftBroadband accessible to the operators of smaller business jets.
“Based on our backlog and orders activity, we believe that the principal aero market that EMS serves - retrofits and upgrades of existing air transport fleets - remains strong, even in this economy,” Domorski commmented. “In addition, the markets for the company's Iridium-based communications and tracking products continue to be quite active. The recent acquisitions we have completed will substantially expand the range of products we supply to this growing market.”
During the fourth quarter EMS acquired New Jersey-based Formation, supplier of the airborne central processor unit (CPU) and cabin wireless access point (CWAP) for Aircell’s Gogo North American air-to-ground broadband system. Earlier in the year the company bought Iridium satcoms service provider Sky Connect, and entered into a partnership with Starling of Israel to produce Ku-band antennas for Panasonic’s emerging eXconnect broadband service for airline passengers.
“Our acquisition strategy of building on core strengths in growth markets continued in 2008,” said Domorski. “With these transactions EMS solidified its position as an aero connectivity solutions leader. This year an emerging priority will be collaboration among the various parts of the company to allow us to develop and introduce products faster.”
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