ARINC – HIDING ITS LIGHT UNDER A BUSHEL
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
27 Nov 07. With little or no publicity, apart from those in the know, it was announced on July 5, 2007 that The Carlyle Group had reached a definitive agreement to acquire ARINC Incorporated from its current shareholders, including several prominent commercial airlines. Financial details were not disclosed.
ARINC is a global provider of transportation communications and systems engineering. The company develops and operates communications and information processing systems and provides systems engineering and integration solutions to five key industries: airports, aviation, defense, government, and surface transportation. Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, ARINC has approximately 3300 employees in 100 offices worldwide, generating annual revenues in excess of $900 million. But, ARINC was perceived, given its heritage and shareholders, as a provider of services to the civil aviation market it has hidden its true worth of its defence capabilities under a bushel and it was only through a briefing at this year’s Dubai Air Show that BATTLESPACE was able to divine the true capability of this diverse and capable organisation. Quite clearly, as stated below by John Belcher, Carlyle, with its extensive defence interests, is an ideal partner to grow and develop this company for sale to a large defense contractor. His opinion is also confirmed by other statements below.
“This is an important step in the evolution of ARINC,” said John M. Belcher, Chairman and CEO of ARINC Incorporated. “We have worked very hard to find a partner who shares our vision, and believe that Carlyle’s international presence, financial resources, and expertise in the aerospace, defense, and communications sectors will be instrumental in the continued expansion of our business. With the support of our dedicated and talented employees, ARINC is committed to maintaining the highest levels of customer service and industry leadership.”
Peter Clare, Carlyle Managing Director and Head of the Global Aerospace and Defense sector team, said, “We have long admired ARINC’s leadership position and impressive track record of growth. We believe that ARINC is well positioned to capitalize on several favorable macro trends in both its commercial and government market segments.”
Ian Fujiyama, the Carlyle Managing Director who led the transaction, added, “John and his team have successfully leveraged ARINC’s unique domain expertise and technology leadership to offer innovative new solutions to its customers. We look forward to partnering with ARINC in continuing to build on its record of success.”
To understand the breadth of ARINC’s capabilities, it is worth looking at the history and establishment of the company.
Incorporated December 2, 1929, Aeronautical Radio, Inc., was chartered by the Federal Radio Commission (later to become the Federal Communications Commission) to serve as the airline industry’s “single licensee and coordinator of radio communication outside of the government.” The corporation’s stock was held by the four major airlines of the day.
Soon the company, known in the industry as ARINC, took on responsibility for all ground-based, aeronautical radio stations and for ensuring station compliance with FRC rules and regulations. From this base technology, we expanded our understanding of—and contributions to—the rapidly emerging world of transportation communications, continuing to support the commercial aviation industry, as well as the U.S. military.
From military systems to wireless LANs, ARINC’s extensive experience includes customers in many industries. For example, ARINC designs, integrates, and deploys a number of customized wireless systems, including:
* Military—satellite and terrestrial applications
* HF, VHF, and UHF radio systems, including analog, digital, and trunk
* APCO Project 25 systems