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Wavetek's Head Expresses Satisfaction Over Gains

February 14, 1986|GREG JOHNSON | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — To pass the time during a recent return flight to San Diego from Europe, John Battin chronicled the progress that Wavetek has made during his first nine months as chief executive officer.

The analysis led to a simple conclusion: "The growth of Wavetek is a direct function of how well we do our jobs," Battin told more than 60 shareholders during an annual meeting Thursday.

Battin then acknowledged that he felt "comfortable" with the recent turnaround that returned Wavetek to profitability during the first quarter of fiscal year 1986 and boosted Wavetek's cash reserves to more than $15 million.

Although Wavetek's revenues dropped 9% to $17.9 million during the first quarter ended Dec. 28, net income rose 200% to $741,000. Battin attributed the revenue slide to last year's sale of three divisions which generated $9 million in annual revenues.

During Battin's first three quarters on the job, the company absorbed $14.3 million in losses which were caused by write-downs on obsolete inventories and losses linked to sale of the three divisions.

"It was a big pill to swallow," acknowledged Battin, who added that the "energy of the company is now focused on the businesses we intend to be in."

Although Battin suggested that Wavetek has positioned itself to enjoy further revenue growth and continuing profits, he would not state the company's planned return on equity.

"At this point I cannot tell you what our official goal is," Battin told shareholders. "But it's obvious in a company like this that the name of the game is to have a decent return on equity."

Battin said Wavetek, which manufactures electronic test and measurement instruments, has "plenty of elbow room" to grow in what has become a $6-billion-to-$8-billion market.

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