Too common? Not at all, Ducommun. The company designs and makes aerostructures and electromechanical components for commercial and military aircraft, as well as for missile and space programs. Ducommun AeroStructures (DAS) engineers and manufactures structures and assemblies, such as aircraft wing spoilers and helicopter blades using aluminum, composites, and titanium. Ducommun LaBarge Technologies (DLT) makes electromechanical components, such as switch assemblies, actuators, keyboard panels, and avionics racks. Its Miltec subsidiary designs missile and aerospace systems. Products for military and space applications account for about 32% of sales. Aircraft giant Boeing represents about 19% of sales.
DAS' production techniques include stretch-forming (the creation of large structural shapes from aluminum sheet metal extrusions) and hot-forming (metal working at high temperature) and computer-controlled machining. The segment also provides chemical milling (the removal of material to reduce weight) services. Commercial aerospace account for 55% of DAS' sales while military and space applications represent the rest.
DLT was created in 2011 when the company's Technologies segment was merged with newly acquired LaBarge, a St. Louis-based electronics component manufacturer. Besides making electronic, electromechanical, and interconnect systems and components, DLT offers services that include design, integration, and testing for advanced weapons and missile defense systems. Military and space applications account for 58% of the segment's sales while commercial aerospace, natural resources, industrial, medical, and other markets represent the rest.
With facilities in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Kansas,
Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Ducommun also operates plants in Mexico and Thailand.
Ducommun's sales surged 42% in 2011 compared with 2010 thanks in part to the contribution of the LaBarge acquisition. By segment DAS' sales rose about 8% over the same period while DLT's soared about 111%. Product sales increased 50% in 2011 vs. 2010, but service sales decreased 30%. The company also weathered a net loss of more than $47 million in 2011 as the result in part of expenses related to its acquisition activity and greater interest demands.
Acquisitions are a major element of Ducommun's strategy. In 2011 the company expanded its capabilities by paying about $325.3 million to acquire LaBarge. LaBarge's products -- including circuit board assemblies -- served customers in the aerospace and defense industries, as well as the medical, energy, and industrial markets. The deal added more than 10 manufacturing sites in six states to Ducommun's assets.
Considered the oldest company in California with a founding date of 1849, Ducommun is dedicated to new technologies for the aerospace industry. It was the first to make all-composite rotor blades for Sikorsky S-61 helicopters; traditional blades were made of a mixture of metal and composite materials.
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