Commercial, Embedded Avionics, Military

Astronics Acquires Ballard Technology

By Tish Drake | December 1, 2011
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Astronics Corp., based in East Aurora, N.Y., paid $24 million to acquire privately held Ballard Technology, an Everett, Wash.-based manufacturer of avionics interface systems for defense and commercial aerospace applications, the company announced Wednesday. An additional purchase consideration of up to $5.5 million may be paid by Astronics if Ballard achieves certain revenue growth targets over each of the next five years, according to Astronics.

Founded in 1986, Ballard is projecting 2011 annual revenue of about $11 million, achieving a compound annual growth rate during the previous three years of over 20 percent. The company’s product line includes commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) avionics databus interfaces and embedded computers. Its products cover all industry-standard protocols including Mil-Std-1553, ARINC 429/708/717/664, AFDX, Ethernet, CSDB, serial, discrete and others.

Astronics manufactures lighting, electrical power and automated test systems for the global aerospace and defense industries. In October, the company was selected to supply illuminated instrument panels for the Cessna’s Citation M2, Citation TEN and Corvalis TTX aircraft as well as exterior lighting for the Citation M2 and Citation TEN. Other recent contract announcements include providing equipment for the Nextant 400, HondaJet, Piper Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft, the U.S. Air Force and Iberia Airlines.

"The acquisition of Ballard advances our strategy to develop and maintain positions of technical leadership while diversifying the products and technologies we currently offer to our targeted aerospace and defense customers. Like us, Ballard provides highly engineered products and has built a brand based on quality, service and innovative designs. We believe that the business has solid growth potential and our capabilities will complement their efforts. In addition, Ballard is a solidly profitable business. Our acquisition price is roughly six times projected 2011 income before tax, and we expect the acquisition to be accretive in 2012," said Peter J. Gundermann, president and CEO of Astronics.

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