N.Y. firm buys airborne antenna-maker AeroSat

Amherst-based firm’s products bring satellite and ground-based communications into an airplane

A New York state-based aerospace and defense firm, has acquired Amherst, N.H.-based AeroSat Corp., which manufactures antenna systems used to bring satellite and ground-based communications into an airplane.

The move to acquire AeroSat in a $12 million cash deal expands Astronics’ line of products that help airline passengers use their electronic devices during flights, the company said.

Astronics, based in East Aurora, N.Y., makes the systems that allow passengers to plug their electronic devices – from iPods to laptop computers – into outlets in their seats.

By adding AeroSat’s line of antenna systems, which are mounted on the fuselage and tail of commercial, business and military jets, Astronics will be able to make the equipment that brings in the electronic signals that provide content to those devices.

“AeroSat’s capabilities fit in well with our vision for the future,” said Peter J. Gundermann, Astronics’ CEO.

“We have long been involved in helping aircraft passengers remain productive by powering their electronic devices,” Gundermann said. “With AeroSat, we also provide antenna systems that enable broadband connectivity.”

AeroSat has about 40 employees and is expected to have between $12 million and $14 million in sales this year. AeroSat’s president, Dennis Ferguson, will continue to run the company’s operations, Astronics said.

Under the terms of the deal, the purchase price for AeroSat could rise if the business meets certain performance targets. AeroSat’s owners would get extra payments if the company’s sales top $30 million next year and exceed $40 million in 2015.

The additional payments to AeroSat, which will rise as sales grow, will not increase any further if the company’s revenues top $53 million.

Astronics said it expects AeroSat’s revenues next year to range between $20 million and $40 million, which would yield an additional payment to AeroSat’s owners that could range between nothing and $3 million.

In all, Astronics said it expects the additional payments to total between $5 million and $20 million.

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