Tessco goes public, sells $22.8 million in stock

September 29, 1994|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Sun Staff Writer

Tessco Technologies Inc., a Sparks-based distributor to the fast-growing cellular communications business, became a publicly traded company yesterday with the sale of $22.8 million worth of stock.

The stock, which sold at $12 a share, was sold in two parts -- 966,870 shares offered by the company and 933,130 by existing stockholders. The stockholders included three officers, 12 individuals and four venture capital funds.

After expenses connected to the offering, Tessco received about $10.8 million, which it will use for general corporate purposes and to pay off about $6.2 million of debt. The company may also use some of the money for acquisitions, although Tessco is not negotiating for any purchase now, the prospectus for the offering said.

Tessco, which has 121 workers at its Sparks operation, sells equipment to 3,500 customers per month in the cellular telephone, paging and mobile radio-dispatch markets, according to the prospectus.

In the last five years, sales for the company have more than doubled, to $61.4 million, and its net income increased by 43.6 percent, to $1 million.

Founded in 1952 in Baltimore by Robert B. Barnhill Sr., the company initially sold two-way radio communication equipment primarily to police and fire departments, according to Jim Jenkins, a spokesman for the company.

The company is now known for supplying infrastructure equipment, such as cables, base station antennas and telephone and radio accessories to cellular telephone networks, and other large users and dealers.

"They are one of the real quality players," said Mike Gill, president of Americom, a cellular telephone dealer for Bell Atlantic Corp. "They put a lot of effort into hiring quality people."

The offering was handled by William Blair & Co., a Chicago-based investment banking firm.

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