Andrew Corporation was an international supplier of communications equipment, systems, and services. Among the company’s principal products are coaxial cable, connectors, and systems used in various telecommunications systems; a variety of (microwave) antennas and antenna systems and special application antennas used in cellular systems, navigation, FM and television broadcasting, multipoint distribution services, instructional television, radar systems, and surveillance systems; and wireless accessories, including portable antennas, batteries, battery chargers, paging accessories, and hands-free kits. About 57% of revenues are generated in the area of coaxial cable systems and bulk cables.
Andrew had eight manufacturing plants in the US and additional factories in Canada, Australia, Scotland, Brazil, China, and India and 4,500 employees; nearly half of revenues stem from products exported from the US or manufactured abroad. Andrew sales in 1999 exceeded 791 million USD.
Two manufacturing facilities in the USA and Canada were remaining after restructuring the company in '97 and '98.
Nowadays it supports customers from 35 countries across Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Americas with a worldwide Sales Support organization.
In 1937, Victor J. 'Doc' Andrew founded a company near Midway Airport inn Chicago that made radio broadcasting equipment. During World War II, the company broadened its product line, manufacturing communications gear and cable for the military. After the war, Andrew made antennas, cables, and connectors.
In 1953, six years after it was incorporated, Andrew moved its headquarters and some production to suburban Orland Park. The expansion of the telecommunications industry in the 1980’s drove growth at Andrew, which saw annual sales rise to over 800 million USD by the end of the 1990’s. By that time, Andrew had become an international corporation with about 2,000 employees in the Chicago area and over 4,500 worldwide.
In the early 1970’s, Andrew’s market began to change from government and military contracts to private sector applications. In the United States, companies were allowed to compete with AT&T in long-distance communication beginning in 1972, and these so-called Other Common Carriers (OCCs) utilized microwave antennas for their telephone service. Andrew was an acknowledged world leader in microwave technology, and its business grew appreciably as the OCCs such as MCI and Sprint undertook large-scale construction projects. Andrew’s growth in the microwave antenna business was at times as much as 25% a year between 1972 and 1984. The company held around 60% of the world market share in microwave antenna systems, with higher percentages in its top markets in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
When the U.S. Justice Department broke up AT&T in 1982, Andrew grew even more rapidly. AT&T itself was one of the company’s top customers, and with the breakup it and the OCC’s demanded still more Andrew microwave transmission technology. The company experienced record sales, with revenues for 1984 exceeding 200 million USD for the first time. But sales declined abruptly in 1985 when fiber optics began to supersede microwave technology in some areas. Fiber optic cables were found to transmit voice and data faster than microwave systems and with less distortion. Andrew management had had some signs that this might happen, but had anticipated more time to prepare for the new technology.
In 1986 Andrew acquired Scientific Communications, Inc., and Kintec Corp, further acquiring The Antenna Company in 1996. Andrew Corporation acquired Channel Master's Smithfield, North Carolina satellite dish factory, equipment, inventory and intellectual property in an 18 million USD deal after that firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on October 2nd, 2003.
In 1995 Andrew received the largest order in its history, a 50 million USD contract to expand the cellular telephone and paging systems in the Hong Kong Metro. In December 1995 the company purchased 51% interests in two Brazilian firms, Mapra Industria e Comercio Ltda. and Gerbo Telecommunicacoes e Services Ltda, which manufactured and distributed antennas, waveguides, and towers as well as providing installation services. With Mapra and Gerbo, Andrew formed a cable manufacturing company in which Andrew held a 70% stake. In 1997 the company increased its stakes in Mapra and Gerbo themselves to 70%.
In the late 1990's Andrew was hurt by a slowdown in the expansion of the U.S. wireless market, particularly that of PCS, as well as by the global economic crisis that affected the company’s international operations, particularly its major undertakings in Russia and Brazil. Revenues peaked at 870 million USD in 1997 before declining to 853 million USD in 1998 and 792 million USD in 1999. During this period Andrew launched two separate restructuring efforts to jettison underperforming businesses and focus more sharply on core areas.
In mid-1997 the company disposed of its network products business and its fiber optic sensors and global messaging development activities, and also significantly restructured its wireless products operation in Europe. Andrew recorded a 22.8 million USD after-tax charge in fiscal 1997 in relation to this restructuring.
In March 1999 the company announced its second major restructuring in less than two years. Initiatives this time included the phasing out of its line of AVS small aperture earth station products, the divestment of its SciComm government electronics business, a shift to the outsourcing of telecommunication tower manufacturing, and the transfer of wireless accessories manufacturing from Addison, Illinois, to Mexico and China. Approximately 600 permanent employees and 280 temporary and contract workers lost their positions as a result, and Andrew recorded an after-tax charge of 28.1 million USD during fiscal 1999.
In October 2003 Andrew Corp. decided to sell the equipment and other assets of its broadcast products division to Electronics Research, Inc. (ERI). The sale included the lease of Andrew’s manufacturing facilities in Illinois and Maine that made RF filters and combiners.
ERI offered a line of television broadcast antennas, such as its EL Series UHF, Broadband UHF panel and VHF antennas products and the successful IBOX digital radio transmission systems. ERI has been in business since 1943 and employed about 200 people in 2003.
In 2005 Andrew Corporation acquired Germany based Skyware Radio Systems GmbH, a manufacturer of state-of-the-art electronic products for broadband satellite communications networks with additional offices in Manchester, UK.
In 2006 Andrew Corporation bought Precision Antennas Ltd, from UK-based aerospace and defence group Cobham, Plc that specializes in the development and manufacture of microwave antenna systems used primarily for cellular backhaul. The deal was closed for 26 million USD. Cobham acquired Precision in 2004.
Precision operated from three manufacturing sites in Stratford, England with 500 employees. The company and also produced couplers and earth station antennas. The operation became part of Andrew Corporation’s Antenna and Cable Products Group.
In 2007 CommScope, Inc. acquired the larger rival Andrew Corporation in a 2.6 billion USD deal. Through its new Andrew brand, CommScope became a global leader in radio frequency subsystem solutions for wireless networks.
In January 2008 CommScope, Inc, completed the sale of its Satellite Communications business to Resilience Capital Partners, a US-based private equity firm.
The former Andrew Satellite Communications business would operate as a newly formed, independent company called ASC Signal Corporation. The new company continued operations from their major facilities in the USA, Canada, the UK and Germany and select regional locations around the globe. Its headquarters would remain in Garner, North Carolina.
In 2009 Resilience sold the DTH and VSAT division and all assets of ASC Signal Corporation to Satellite Holdings, LLC, a portfolio company of The Edgewater Funds and Granahan McCourt Capital. The sale included the manufacturing operations in North Carolina, USA and engineering offices in the UK and Germany, ASC Signal’s Chinese electronics manufacturing entity, ASC PRC, as well as their RF electronics business, Skyware Radio Systems GmbH (a unit formerly owned by Philips Electronics). Together, the merged companies had an expanded product set, first-class engineering capabilities, and manufacturing operations on 3 continents, all offering global logistics.
Satellite Holdings, LLC. was newly formed after the purchase of the Raven Group of companies (Raven Group, Ltd, Raven Antenna Systems, Inc and Raven Manufacturing) in 2008. Raven was founded in 1984 and was one of the world’s major players in the DTH and VSAT markets.
Later in 2009, Satellite Holdings, LLC. changed the name of the Raven Group to Skyware Global that became a leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of systems for the global satellite industry through strategic acquisitions. Skyware Global provided direct-to-home (DTH), enterprise VSAT and satellite broadband equipment for residential, commercial and government use.
Andrew's Earth Station Antenna Division had eight manufacturing plants in the United States and additional factories in Canada, Australia, Scotland, Brazil, China, and India; nearly half of revenues came from products exported from the United States or manufactured abroad.
On September 17th, 2015 ASC Signal Corporation was acquired by CPI, Inc. It will operate as a separate entity under the CPI umbrella.
1937: Victor J. 'Doc' Andrew begins making equipment for the directional antennas used by AM radio broadcasters
1947: Company is incorporated as Andrew Corporation.
1949: Company begins making microwave antennas for both civilian and military communications.
1971: Company founder Andrew dies; C. Russell Cox is named CEO.
1972: Inauguration of U.S. long-distance telephone competition leads to company shift to private microwave antenna systems.
1980: Andrew goes public.
1983: Floyd L. English is named president and CEO.
1984: Sales exceed 200 million USD for the first time.
1986: Scientific Communications, Inc., and Kintec Corp., makers of military communications equipment, are acquired.
1993: Andrew released world's first terestrial Microwave antenna with direct radio integration capability (later branded as ValuLine).
1996: The Antenna Company, maker of wireless antennas and accessories, is acquired; revenues of 869.5 million USD are recorded.
1997: Andrew restructured its organization including the disposal of network products business.
1999: As part of another major restructuring, 880 workers are laid off.
2003: Andrew acquired the Channel Master, LLC. VSAT Antenna division
for 18 million USD in cash.
2005: Andrew acquired Xenicom Ltd, a privately held UK-based provider of software solutions that help telecommunications operators plan, launch, and manage wireless networks.
2005: Andrew Corporation acquired Germany based Skyware Radio Systems, GmbH.
2006: Andrew bought Precision Antennas, Ltd from Cobham.
2007: Commscope, Inc. acquired Andrew Corp. for 2.6 billion USD.
2008: Andrew Corp, a subsidiary of Commscope, Inc. sold their Andrew Satellite Communications Group to Resilience Capital Partners, an Ohio based private equity firm and changed the name into ASC Signal Corporation.
2009: Resilience sold the DTH and VSAT division and all assets of ASC Signal Corporation to Satellite Holdings, LLC
2009: ASC Signal Corp. established Plano Texas Engineering Center.
2010: Relocation of manufacturing facilities to Whitby Canada.
2011: USAF selects ASC Signal Corp. for quad-band tactical 3.8m ESA Systems
2014: ASC Signal Corp. secures contracts for 115 Ka-band and Gateway antennas (5.6m, 8.1m & 9.4m).
2014: ASC Signal Corp. achieves record sales for their 9m Antenna
2015: CPI acquires ASC Signal Corporation.