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The Times 100: The Best Performing Companies in California

Ascend Communications : No. 2 on the Growth 100

May 07, 1996|SCOTT COLLINS

Mighty big growth spurt for a 7-year-old.

Ascend is watching its sales ascend through the roof. The Alameda-based firm, which makes high-speed computer networking products, racked up $150 million in sales last year, an increase of 280% from 1994. As this section illustrates, such technology networking companies are in the hottest industry around.

Ascend, founded in 1989, is riding a high-tech wave. Having gone on a PC buying spree, businesses now need software that can efficiently link computers. Ascend makes products that allow such networking at very high speeds.

The stock, which has recently traded around $92, remains a risky bet based on its relatively low earnings per share, which have ranged from 30 cents to 70 cents a share in recent quarters. But sales have remained strong into this year. For the first quarter ended March 31, the company reported net sales of $91.1 million, up 347% over $20.4 million the year before.

At the end of April, Nelson's Institutional Research raised its estimate of future earnings, seeing more than a dollar a share by the company's fiscal 1997.

Ascend President and Chief Executive Mory Ejabat noted that about 42% of the company's first-quarter sales were made overseas.

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