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Andrew Spins Off Broadcast Division to ERI

Electronics Research Inc. plans to purchase the broadcast products division of Andrew Corp.

Electronics Research Inc. plans to purchase the broadcast products division of Andrew Corp. The companies have signed a letter of intent for the deal, which was expected to close in early November. Price and deal structure have not been disclosed.

Andrew’s Broadcast Products Division makes antenna systems for broadcast applications; filters, combiners and RF components for television and FM radio; and rigid line and components.

Andrew will retain its Heliax air cable-manufacturing business and will be the main supplier of air cable to ERI; the latter will distribute the product for broadcast use while Andrew will distribute for non-broadcast use. Andrew retains the Heliax trademark.

After the deal closes, Andrew broadcast products would be manufactured by ERI, which is acquiring all the machinery and inventory, said Kinsley Jones, engineering and marketing manager for ERI.

“We have been expanding the range of our product lines for strategic reasons. This was an opportunity to flesh out our product lines quickly with products that are already made, rather than designed by us,” he said.

While most of the products ERI is acquiring are TV-related, two in particular are applicable to radio: mask filters developed for HD Radio by Andrew and the Heliax line.

ERI plans to lease Andrew’s Orland Park, Ill., facility temporarily while it transitions machinery and employees to its own main manufacturing plant in Chandler, Ind., said Andrew spokeswoman Greta Brown.

The Gray, Maine, facility for the manufacture of Andrew filters and combiners is part of this transaction. ERI intends to operate that plant as it is.

Andrew has approximately 100 employees in its broadcast division, with roughly 40 in Maine and 60 in Orland Park. ERI anticipates offering positions to roughly 60 percent of Andrew broadcast workers. ERI has roughly 200 employees in Chandler.

Andrew also has a satellite communications business, which is not affected by the proposed sale of assets of the broadcast products division.

Andrew makes communications products for wireless and distributed communications, land mobile radio, cellular and personal communications, broadcast, radar and navigation. The company started in radio in 1937. In July, it merged with wireless telecommunications equipment supplier Allen Telecom. It could not specify how much of its income came from broadcast products; however, 2002 sales for all of its divisions were $1.4 billion, according to a company fact sheet.

As to why it’s leaving the broadcasting equipment business, spokeswoman Greta Brown said the company is focusing on businesses that are $100 million in size, and first or second in their market in sales.

“We’re hoping by selling to ERI we’re creating a better opportunity for the broadcast product line,” she said.

ERI will assume warranties for Andrew’s broadcast products. “We’re trying to make sure customers are not adversely impacted” by the sale, Jones said.