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Andrew Sharpens Focus With New Product Group

By | October 25, 2004

      Orland Park, Ill.-based Andrew Corporation [ANDW], a communications systems equipment supplier, earlier this month created a product group focused exclusively on satellites and formed a second group that combines antennas and cable products.

      Paul Cox, president of the Andrew Corporation’s new Satellite Commun-ications Group, said in an exclusive interview with Satellite News that the company’s recent realignment of its business units would allow heightened focus on satellite industry opportunities. The satellite-related products that Andrew provides notched strong growth last year and the consolidation of all of those operations into a single business unit will let Cox report directly on those activities to Ralph Faison, president and CEO of Orland Park, Ill.-based Andrew.

      “We are in this business to stay,” Cox said. “The bottom line is that we saw a fairly dramatic growth in the satellite segment during the past year.”

      Strategic Realignment

      The realignment will aid responsiveness in decision-making across each product group, Cox said. Cox, former president of the company’s Antennas Group, said that the second group encompasses antennas and cable products. Those products previously were mixed together with satellite products before the company’s realignment earlier this month. John DeSana, former president of the company’s Cable Products Group, was named president of the newly combined Antenna and Cable Products Group.

      As head of satellite communications, Cox oversees a product group that has annualized sales of approximately $175 million and an addressable market that exceeds $1 billion. Its products include consumer DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite), professional VSAT (very small aperture terminal), Earth station satellite, and systems for various government and military applications. Cox joined Andrew in September 2000 as vice president, Satellite Products /Systems and Government Antennas, after 16 years of service with the space and technology group of EMS Technologies Inc. He was named president/Antenna Group, in February 2001.

      Cox said that his company has been in the communications part of the satellite business and has been branching out. One example is its acquisition of Channel Master LLC on Nov. 24 last year. That deal expanded Andrew’s role in VSAT, DTH and television accessory products.

      In that transaction, Andrew bought selected assets of Channel Master and certain of its subsidiaries for roughly $18 million in cash.

      Another growth segment for Andrew is satellite broadband equipment, Cox said. That is the youngest of its various satellite markets, so it still needs time to develop, he added. However, Andrew recently played a role in developing gateways for the fledgling WildBlue satellite broadband system.

      Military Market

      Another area of growth for the company is in providing satellite communications for the military. In the near term, Andrew’s best opportunities probably are in military antennas, DBS, and broadband/IP over satellite, Cox said.

      “We have been working through other system integrators,” Cox said. Indeed, one of Andrew’s strengths is its engineering capability, he added.

      “We have one of the best engineering teams to do multi-beam antennas,” Cox said. Those antennas pick up C-band and Ku-band services at the same time.

      Another aspect of the company is its financial capacity to bring new products to market, Cox said. Andrew is one of the world’s largest satellite antenna companies and its size helps to support research and development, as well as rolling out innovative equipment to meet market needs, he added.

      (Paul Cox, Andrew Corp., 708/349-5166)

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