The series of recent setbacks to the U.S. space program has not put a damper on Datum Inc.'s efforts to bolster the use of its precision-timing and high-frequency products in space exploration.
"Clearly the space shuttle will be on hold for a long time . . . but that doesn't mean that we will be," Chairman Louis B. Horwitz told about 20 stockholders attending the company's annual meeting Wednesday at its Anaheim headquarters.
Although the company's products are not now used on the space shuttle, Horwitz said Datum would like someday to see them used on shuttles and possibly aboard orbiting space stations. Horwitz also said Datum could benefit if the so-called "Star Wars" Strategic Defense Initiative is financed.
And two recent acquisitions by Datum are expected to further advance the company's involvement with U.S. space projects, Horwitz said.
"Advanced technologies that push the state of the art of space exploration call for new timing equipment and new frequencies," he said.
The company's precision-timing devices--used in missile tracking, navigation, aircraft testing, medical research and a variety of other applications--are now aboard four satellites. As part of a $13-million contract with Rockwell International, the company will deliver 56 more devices within the next few years. When modified for use in space, the timing devices sell for about $250,000 each, Horwitz said.
With acquisition as its growth strategy, Horwitz said, Datum has made an offer to acquire Spectrum Technologies Inc., a Goleta manufacturer of specialty frequency products. Spectrum posted sales of more than $4 million last year. Datum's frequency products division manufactures devices that produce or stabilize specific frequencies and are used to generate precise time information and to help control global navigation and communication satellite systems.
In January, Datum acquired Bancomm Inc., a San Jose maker of precision-timing devices, for $780,000. Horwitz said he expects the Bancomm division to post sales of more than $1 million over the next year.
The Bancomm acquisition expands Datum's line of timing instruments to a larger customer base, Horwitz said. He predicted that Datum, which now employs nearly 400 workers, would make more acquisitions in 1986.
Although Horwitz would not project net income for the second quarter, he said that because of higher revenue expected from recent acquisitions, results would be "considerably better" than one year ago.
In the first quarter, Datum's net income fell 8.7% to $219,000 from $240,000 a year earlier.