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Meade Instruments Expanding Tijuana Plant, Adding Products

Technology: The two new telescopes are computer-controlled. The company also plans more hires at its Irvine base.

May 09, 2000|From Bloomberg News

Meade Instruments Corp., a telescope and binocular maker, is almost doubling the size of its assembly plant in Tijuana and adding 70 workers to help it manufacture two telescopes introduced Monday.

The additional workers in Tijuana will bring the total there to about 150. The plant will grow to 50,000 square feet from 26,000.

Meade said it also plans to continue adding optical and mechanical manufacturing capacity at its Irvine headquarters. The company employs 375 workers in Irvine, up from 300 about a year ago, Chief Financial Officer Brent Christensen said. The company expects to add more workers in the next 12 months, Christensen said, but he did not provide a precise number.

The plant expansion in Mexico, expected to be completed within 60 days, is to meet expected demand for the new ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT model telescopes, which will be added to the company's line of lower-priced computer-controlled telescopes that have boosted financial results.

The Mexico expansion will free resources at the Irvine plant, which is making components for high-speed networking start-up TeraBeam Networks, an analyst said.

"It's a prudent move," said Timothy Conder, an analyst at A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis, who rates Meade a "buy." "They're making sure they have adequate capacity to deliver on this major contract plus get out their new products."

The new telescopes are expected to sell for $299 and $349, respectively.

Overall, Meade is "proceeding well," Conder said, adding that he expects the company to make his estimates of 17 cents a share profit and $21 million in revenue for the fiscal first quarter ending this month.

For the last fiscal year, earnings more than doubled to a record $12 million as sales moved up 66%, to $126.8 million.

Meade's stock, which has shot up almost sixfold over the past year, closed Monday at $69.38, down $3.13, on the Nasdaq market.

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Telescoping Stock Price

Meade Instruments Corp., which is adding two more products to its successful line of lower-cost computer-assisted telescopes, has seen its stock soar in recent months. Daily closing prices:

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$69.38

Monday's Close

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Source: Bloomberg News

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