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The IMS Company still climbing through the turbulence

24th October 2008 - 01:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Handheld IFE market leader The IMS Company is setting its face against the increasingly hostile trading environment that confronts the industry, announcing steep revenue growth for the financial year ended on June 30.

IMS, which supplies handhelds, content loading devices and content services to four US majors and a dozen other carriers, recorded gross annual revenues of $27 million in the period, up from $18 million in the previous 12 months. This means it now ranks 14th among the fastest-growing companies in California’s technology-centric Orange County.

“This period of exceptional growth, despite weaknesses in the air transport industry, has resulted in a strong balance sheet and gives us the ability to continue investing in our product portfolio and market expansion,” says IMS chief executive Joe Renton.

This year the company has put money into a move into a new 18,000-square-foot location in Brea, California. Double the size of its predecessor, the facility houses two newly created business groups - IMS Entertainment and IMS Engineering. It has also expanded its sales staff, naming new heads of sales for North America, Latin America and business aviation, and opening an office in Bangkok. A UK-based representative appointed last year covers Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The end of this year could see IMS teamed with Paris-based cabin interiors and aircraft systems provider Zodiac Group in a joint venture to tackle the IFE equipment market. To be named IMS-Zodiac, the new undertaking would “change the way this industry looks at IFE,” Renton said at last month’s WAEA show in Seattle. “The air transport industry, buffeted by rising fuel costs and unprecedented challenges, needs paradigm-changing solutions that relegate traditional IFE to the past.”

One of the prime drivers behind the tie-up, which is due to be finalised before the year is out, is understood to be the work that Zodiac group member Sicma Aero Seat is doing on a new embedded IFE architecture combining fibreoptic cable with a high level of processing power in the in-seat screen. The programme entered the public gaze at the main Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg earlier this year. Zodiac is believed to have been particularly attracted by the potential for extra development impetus that IMS could bring to the project.

The Shephard News Team

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