CompuDyne buys Severna Park firm

July 25, 2006|By ALLISON CONNOLLY | ALLISON CONNOLLY,SUN REPORTER

Seeking to capitalize on the government's desire for better technology to intercept e-mails, cell phone calls and other communications related to terrorist activity, CompuDyne Corp. of Annapolis has purchased Signami LLC, a Severna Park-based company that makes software and hardware that gathers such intelligence.

It's a small acquisition, worth only a few million dollars, said CompuDyne Chief Executive Officer Martin Roenigk. But it's one with big potential, he said.

"I think we're going to make a mark on this field," he said.

Government agencies have struggled to collect and mine the enormous amount of signals intelligence trafficking. There's interest in such technology not only from U.S. government agencies, but also from foreign customers, he said. The company's largest competitor, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Applied Signal Technology Inc., had revenue of $156 million last year, and Roenigk said he'd be happy with a slice of it.

Signami has a Windows-based software called SignalWorks that is used by two U.S. intelligence agencies and the Army, Navy and Air Force. It also has been sold to 17 foreign intelligence agencies, with the approval of the State Department. Their technologies are complimentary, he said, and Signami's algorithms will help speed up CompuDyne's products.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Signami's co-founder, Bert Jones, will stay on through an undetermined transition period but is officially retiring. He did not respond yesterday to a call seeking comment.

The new business will be called Signami DCS, and will be folded into the Data Control Systems division of CompuDyne's Integrated Electronic Systems subsidiary in Gaithersburg. CompuDyne will absorb Signami's handful of employees. Roenigk said the business could be worth $10 million in a couple of years.

CompuDyne has four business units, including ones that sell security technology to prisons and make bulletproof glass that fortifies embassies and courthouses.

To better position itself in the growing homeland-defense market, Roenigk said the company is establishing a new business unit that consolidates related products and will report directly to him.

CompuDyne stock closed yesterday at $6 a share.

allison.connolly@baltsun.com

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