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ViaSat Is Beaming Over Its Recent Successes

The satellite and network communications business of ViaSat Inc. has been growing at such a rapid clip, it’s had to construct a fourth building at its Carlsbad headquarters.

ViaSat plans to spend about $2 million during the next five quarters for constructing two new buildings, one in Carlsbad and another in Atlanta.

The new facility in Carlsbad, which should be completed in about a year and accommodate some 185 workers, is needed because of the continued strong business ViaSat is doing with the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, said spokesman Bruce Rowe.

ViaSat’s components are used in wireless radio systems in F-18 fighter jets and other military systems. Through the end of the company’s third quarter, it reported $112 million in this business. It recently won a $60 million contract for future work.

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ViaSat, founded in 1986, gets about half its work from the government and half from the commercial sector, but the prospects for the latter are far greater.

In recent years, the company has been supplying satellite Internet modems to a Boeing subsidiary firm that provides Internet broadband connections for airlines. The company has also been working with a Denver company, Wild Blue, to provide wireless Internet access for homes.

If that home Internet business takes off, so will ViaSat’s sales, Rowe said.

For the nine months that ended Dec. 31, ViaSat’s revenues hit record levels at $255 million, and net income was $12.5 million. That compares with revenues of $195.4 million and net profits of $9.4 million for the same period of the prior fiscal year.

“We’re pretty happy with our performance this year,” said Chief Executive Officer Mark Dankberg.

Judging from ViaSat’s order backlog of $323 million, Dankberg may be understating things.

Today ViaSat has 968 employees, including 609 at its main office in Carlsbad. That was up from about a year ago when it had 925 employees, including some 500 locally, Rowe said.

Rowe said the latest $60 million contract will cause the hiring of about 30 new engineers, both on the hardware and software side.

Based on the local head count, ViaSat is Carlsbad’s largest high-tech employer and the 12th largest overall in the city, Rowe said.

Traded on Nasdaq as VSAT, the stock closed Feb. 8 at $22.09 and has ranged from $16.79 to $28.91 during the last 52 weeks.

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ResMed Rising:

ResMed Inc., a Poway-based maker of equipment used to diagnose and treat sleep-disordered breathing, reported second quarter net income of $17.4 million on revenues of $103.8 million, compared with net income of $14.1 million on revenues of $82.3 million for the same quarter in the previous year.

Several brokerages upgraded their ratings on ResMed following the results, sending the stock, traded as RMD on the New York Stock Exchange, up 12 percent to close at $60.42 on Feb. 4, up $7.43 from the previous day’s price, and giving it a market cap of more than $2 billion.

For the six months ended Dec. 31, ResMed reported net profits of $31.3 million on revenues of $191.6 million, compared with net profits of $26.4 million on revenues of $155.1 million for the same period of 2003.

The company’s domestic sales rose 27 percent for the quarter over the prior year’s second quarter, while international sales, accounting for about half the total, rose by 25 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Peter Farrell said he expects the company’s sales to grow 15 percent to 20 percent in the next 12 to 18 months.

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Higher Sales, Reduced Profits:

Cubic Corp., the San Diego-based defense contractor and maker of automated fare collection systems, reported net income of $5.3 million for its first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2004, down 7.6 percent from $7.5 million in net income for the same period of 2003.

Cubic’s sales increased 11 percent to $190 million for the same quarter, compared to $171 million in the same period of 2003.

Cubic attributed the reduced profits to increased spending for new product development.

Total backlog jumped to $1.6 billion, compared to $1.5 billion at the end of September.

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Overall Revenues Down:

Overland Storage Inc., a San Diego-based company that makes data backup systems for computer networks, reported net income of $4.5 million on $122.1 million in revenues for the six months ended Dec. 31, compared with $5.7 million on $124.3 million for the like six months in the previous fiscal year.

While overall revenues were down, sales from Europe were up 35 percent, and from Asia, up 17 percent from the same period in 2003, the company said.

The firm said it anticipates revenue for the current third quarter of $62 million, equaling what it did in the second quarter.

Overland, which laid off 140 assembly line workers after transferring its manufacturing to a San Jose firm last year, said it should take a $1.1 million pretax restructuring charge in the third quarter because of the cuts.

Traded as OVRL on Nasdaq, it closed at $14.95 on Feb. 8.

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Cohu Sales Rise:

Cohu Inc., a Poway-based maker of testing equipment for the semiconductor industry, reported net income of $16.7 million on revenues of $176.2 million for 2004, compared with a net loss of $47,000 on revenues of $138.6 million for 2003. Chief Executive Officer James Donahue said Cohu’s fourth quarter sales were better than expected. But overall, the year was a roller coaster, with orders rising sharply in the first two quarters, dropping by a third in the third quarter, and then rebounding in the last quarter.

Cohu’s board declared a nickel dividend per share for the first quarter. COHU, traded on Nasdaq, closed at $18.69 on Feb. 8.

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Sales Up, So Are Losses:

Applied Micro Circuits Corp., a San Diego-based maker of high-speed microchips used in communication networks, reported sales for its third quarter ended Dec. 31 increased to $61.1 million, from $38.2 million in the same period of 2003. However, because of a variety of charges, it had a net loss of $81.9 million, compared with a net loss of $26.4 million for the same quarter.

The company took $28.9 million in charges stemming from a legal settlement of a class-action securities lawsuit; $27.3 million write-down on purchased intangibles; and $8.1 million in restructuring charges related to the layoff of 150 employees announced in November.

The company has about 750 employees, including 270 at its Sorrento Mesa headquarters. It had about 1,130 in early 2002.

AMCC, traded on Nasdaq, dropped to $3.69 as of Feb. 8, and has ranged from $2.79 to $7.87 in the last 52 weeks.

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Jmar Raises $4 Million:

Jmar Technologies, Inc., the Carlsbad-based maker of laser equipment used in the manufacture of semiconductors, said it completed a common stock offering of $4 million to four institutional investors, and amended the terms of its existing $8.8 million preferred stock agreement with another key investor. The transactions add $7.7 million to the company’s cash position of $6 million.


Send any news of local public companies to Mike Allen at mallen@sdbj.com. He can be reached at (858) 277-6359.

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