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Drone maker AeroVironment moves its headquarters to Simi Valley from Monrovia

Drone maker AeroVironment moves its headquarters to Simi Valley from Monrovia
AeroVironment Chief Executive Wahid Nawabi, right, pilots the company's Quantix drone in July. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Drone manufacturer AeroVironment Inc. has moved its headquarters to Simi Valley from Monrovia in an effort to group its operations where it already has several facilities.

The move keeps the company in Southern California but pushes its center of gravity about 50 miles, to southeastern Ventura County from the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County.

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The change took effect Thursday. No layoffs are expected, and all employees in the Monrovia facility are being given the opportunity to move to Simi Valley by the summer, said Steve Gitlin, the company’s vice president of corporate communications.

“This is more of an administrative move, as well as a recognition that Simi Valley is where our business is taking shape, and it’s where we’re coordinating our growth opportunities,” he said.

Simi Valley is home to AeroVironment’s main business in producing small reconnaissance drones for the U.S. military, as well as sensors and other robotics. It also offers software analytics.

Founded in 1971, the company has five primary buildings in Simi Valley. Of its approximately 700 employees, about 30 to 40 are in Monrovia.

The move comes about five months after AeroVironment sold its efficient energy systems business for $35 million to automotive supplier Webasto Group. That business, which was focused on plug-in electric vehicle charging technology and battery systems, was based in Monrovia. Remaining AeroVironment employees in that office primarily work in corporate functions and finance, Gitlin said.

AeroVironment workers in Monrovia were notified last summer, after the sale of the energy systems business, that the company’s headquarters would be moving, Gitlin said.

In addition to its production of small reconnaissance drones such as the Puma and Raven, AeroVironment has a contract with NASA to make portions of the Mars Helicopter, a drone project that is expected to deploy on the Red Planet from NASA’s latest Mars rover in 2020.

And this year, the company announced a joint venture with Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Corp. to develop a high-altitude, long-endurance solar drone that would act as a “pseudo-satellite” for commercial purposes.

AeroVironment reported revenue of $73 million in the three-month period that ended Oct. 27, marking an 11% jump over the same quarter last year. Though product sales were down $1.36 million, the company saw a $8.54-million increase in revenue from providing services.

The company posted net income of $6.1 million for the quarter, down from $7.7 million a year earlier.

3:45 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about AeroVironment’s earnings in its most recent quarter.

11:30 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details about AeroVironment’s business.

This article was originally published at 9:55 a.m.

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