Comarco Earnings Rise 57%; Non-Defense Strategy Noted

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Comarco Inc., a defense contractor that has been steering its business into commercial markets, said Monday that its earnings rose 57% for its fiscal year ended Jan. 31.

The Anaheim engineering services firm reported earnings of $2.7 million, or 51 cents a share, contrasted with earnings of $1.7 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier.

"Our strategy to expand our non-defense markets is working," Comarco President Don M. Bailey said in a statement.

During the year, Comarco won contracts worth more than $200 million, significantly expanding the company's backlog, Bailey said. The biggest contract was a $121-million, five-year award to manage a weapons testing base at Point Mugu for the Navy.

But in an effort to protect itself from cuts in defense spending, Comarco also won a contract to build emergency roadside telephone call boxes for Los Angeles County and launched a new business to provide testing services for cellular phone companies.

Using cellular communications technology first developed for the military, Comarco has been building call boxes since 1986. The company has installed more than 6,000 call boxes, mostly alongside Southern California freeways.

Revenue for the fiscal year rose 11% to $80.3 million, contrasted with $72.6 million a year earlier.

For the fourth quarter, Comarco's earnings rose to $760,000, or 14 cents a share, contrasted with $496,000, or 11 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $22 million, up from $19.1 million a year earlier.

Results for the fourth quarter are based on a 13-week period as compared to 15 weeks for the comparable quarter a year earlier.

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