Tessco reports 48 percent gain in net earnings Md. hopes growth-minded firm will stay in state

January 19, 1996|By Michael Dresser HTC | Michael Dresser HTC,SUN STAFF

Tessco Technologies Inc., a Sparks-based provider of equipment for the wireless communications industry, reported yesterday that its third-quarter net earnings jumped 48 percent despite an overall softness in the cellular telephone market.

The company said its earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 29 rose to $1.1 million, or 24 cents a share, from $759,000, or 17 cents a share, during last year's third quarter. It reported revenues of $23.8 million, up 20 percent from $19.8 million during the third quarter of 1994, as operating margins increased from 6.1 percent to 7.2 percent. Tessco's earnings were released after the stock market closed.

Tessco, which operates a Hunt Valley warehouse several miles from its headquarters, is currently in the market for additional capacity and is considering a consolidation of its operations in a single location. State economic development officials are holding talks with Tessco about incentives to ensure that the company's expansion takes place in Maryland. Tessco officials would make no comment yesterday about the progress of the talks.

"We're talking with the state. We're talking with a variety of people. But we definitely need additional capacity," said Robert B. Barnhill Jr., Tessco's chairman and chief executive.

Mr. Barnhill said Tessco has been able to maintain strong growth despite lagging cellular network construction because of growth the paging industry.

Mr. Barnhill said the industry has been going through "challenging" times because of a slackening of cellular subscriber growth and a slower-than-expected construction of networks for "personal communications services" (PCS), a new form of digital wireless telephone service.

The Tessco executive said companies that bought PCS licenses in recent spectrum auctions have waited to begin construction while they observed how the nation's first PCS network fared.

That network, operated by Bethesda-based American Personal Communications (APC) under the name Sprint Spectrum, launched operations late last year in Washington and Baltimore.

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