Cal Amplifier Inc. Ranked 10th Among Small Businesses

California Amplifier Inc., a Camarillo producer of components for satellite dish-systems and other telecommunications products, has been named one of the top 100 small U.S. corporations by Business Week magazine.

Cal Amplifier ranked 10th on the list of companies with annual revenues between $10 million and $150 million. The findings, obtained from a Standard & Poor's database of 7,500 companies, are based on sales growth, earnings growth and return on capital.

Banks, insurance companies, real estate firms and utilities were not included in the group analyzed for the magazine's May 24 "Hot Growth Companies" issue.

Cal Amplifier, founded in 1981, had sales of $35.8 million in the year that ended last February, compared to $28.6 million the previous year. In fiscal 1993, earnings rose to $3.1 million from $1.6 million the previous 12 months.

Return on capital--a measure of how efficiently a company is managed--averaged an impressive 46.1% annually over the past three years.

Cal Amplifier has 400 employees, up from 96 three years ago.

As well as the firm is doing now, it was in the red as recently as fiscal 1989, noted Barry W. Hall, chairman and chief executive.

"That year, we lost $800,000 and had only $9 million in revenues," he said.

To overcome price erosion and slumping sales in the mid- and late 1980s, the company got out of the military microwave business and concentrated on foreign sales, Hall said.

"We've been especially strong in Asia, South America and the Middle East," he said. "Those are areas in which satellite dishes can receive TV signals without needing a decoder."

Hall expects Cal Amplifier to continue its dramatic growth, "though production efficiencies will probably mean our payroll won't increase as rapidly as our sales."

Hall added that Cal Amplifier may leave its present location on Calle San Pablo when its lease expires in several years.

"There's a good chance we'll relocate to Oxnard or someplace else in Ventura County. Camarillo doesn't seem to want manufacturing plants anymore."

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