From Staff Reports

A Kilgore communications technology company has been acquired by a New York-based aerospace electronics corporation for $22 million in cash.

Astronics Corp. of East Aurora, New York, acquired Freedom Communication Technologies, which began in Kilgore in 2015 and had grown to an $11 million business by 2018.

“We are thrilled to join the Astronics team,” Ricardo Viloria, Freedom president and CEO, said in a statement. “Their extensive technology base, deep presence in the defense and aerospace markets and dynamic corporate culture make them a perfect fit for Freedom. We’re very proud of the leading market position we have built, and as part of Astronics, we know we will make even greater strides in the years ahead.”

Amanda Nobles, director of the Kilgore Economic Development Corp., agreed the acquisition was good news for the company and Kilgore.

“It’s great to have that presence in our community,” she said after the deal was announced last week. “It’s great that it offers Freedom Communication Technologies the ability to expand its services and reach new markets.”

Astronics President and CEO Peter J. Gundermann said expansion was in the plans for Freedom.

“Their market focus and technology complements those we already have, and together we will offer a broader range of test solutions to an expanded market,” he said. “The acquisition gives us a stronger market position in the radio test arena, a strong brand for our offerings and a larger addressable market.”

In 2015, Freedom, which has headquarters in Synergy Park, purchased the communications test equipment product line previously manufactured by General Dynamics, including its flagship product, the R8000 communications systems analyzer. At the time, it said it would continue engineering development and manufacturing for the R8000 product line while developing new products. It planned to double its engineering development staff during 2015 as it moved ahead.

The Kilgore Economic Development Corp. supported Freedom’s 2015 launch by spending $150,000 to upgrade its building. At the time, Freedom planned to invest $1.3 million and create 26 jobs to expand its market.

Today, it offers communications analyzers for testing and maintaining land-based mobile radio communications systems for high-speed wireless communications customers. It also provides automated radio testing and alignment, coverage mapping and interference analysis.

In a statement, Astronics, which is publicly traded on the NASDAQ market, said Freedom had 2018 revenue of $11 million and is expected to contribute about $10 million in revenue in the second half of 2019.

Astronics was founded in 1968 and specializes in designing and manufacturing technologies and components for aircraft. It trades under the symbol ATRO.

In its earnings report for the first quarter, issued May 8, Astronics reported revenue of $208.2 million, up more than 16 percent from year-earlier results and easily topping analysts’ estimates. Earnings per share also jumped, topping estimates. Its next quarterly earnings report is expected Aug. 2.