Test company Rohde & Schwarz says that 5G momentum is contributing to its bottom line, with revenues up nearly 5% from last year.
The company, which is private and does not report its results publicly, nonetheless typically provides a yearly update on its finances. Rohde & Schwarz said its revenues for its fiscal year were about $2.39 billion, with orders up 10.6% to $2.74 billion.
The company’s employee base also grew, from 11,500 to around 12,100 as of June 2019.
Rohde & Schwarz cited four primary drivers for growth in its business: 5G, smarter vehicles, demand for security technology and the broadcast transition to ultra-high definition video.
On the 5G front, the company said that it “did very well with its test and measurement solutions, especially with its products for base station testing,” as well as its recently launched offerings for testing 5G devices and over-the-air test chambers, which it said are “attracting a lot of interest from manufacturers.
“The upgrading of mobile networks is also fueling a significant increase in the demand for solutions that measure network quality,” the company added.
In the connected car market, R&S said, “substantial [research and development] expenditures for driver assistance systems and autonomous driving are boosting the demand for test and measurement solutions.”
R&S noted that its wholly-owned subsidiary Lancom Systems had “solid growth” this year due to interest by business and the public sector in software-defined networking; Lancom also assumed responsibility for R&S’s firewall business in 2019 and now offers comprehensive network technology solutions.
In other test news:
–National Instruments is preparing for a CEO transition, with current CEO Alex Davern set to step down on January 31. The board has already appointed a successor: Eric Starkloff, who is a 22-year veteran of the company
Davern has been at NI since 1994 and led the company since 2016, when he took over from the company’s founder, Dr. James Truchard. Davern will start a teaching position at University of Texas McCombs School of Business in the fall of 2020, but he will stay on-staff at NI as a strategic advisor through next May, as well as continuing to serve on NI’s board of directors.
Board Chairman Michael McGrath said that during his tenure as CEO, Davern “led NI and shaped a new core strategic vision, expanded our strategy to provide more complete systems for our customers, aligned the company to focus on growth industries and delivered record results. The board’s intention, after a successful transition from the founder, was to appoint the next CEO to lead the company to achieve this new vision. After considering alternatives, we unanimously selected Eric as our next CEO to lead NI into a very promising future. Alex will leave NI stronger, with experienced leaders and a clear strategy. We are excited to have Eric as our new leader, as he has proven to the board that he is the most qualified person to take NI to the next level.”
NI also reported its third-quarter results this week, with revenues down about 2% year-over-year but net income up 20% year-over-year to $52 million. Orders were down about 5% overall, with orders of less than $20,000 down 6% and orders of more than $20,000 down 4% compared to the same period last year. The company reported a $27 million gain during the quarter from the sale of an office building in Austin, Texas, and $7 million in expenses as it donated part of the proceeds toward its corporate social responsibility efforts. Operating expenses were down 4% year-over-year.
“In this difficult business environment, we remain focused on our long-term growth strategy. We believe the differentiation and flexibility of our software-centric platform will enable us to increase market share as customers look for new options to meet market demands,” said Davern in a statement, adding, “With our clear focus on industries coupled with our strong balance sheet, we believe we are in a position to accelerate growth when the market recovers.”
–Teledyne LeCroy launched a new Bluetooth and 802 protocol analyzer, the Frontline X240 Wireless Wideband Analyzer. It covers Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth Classic, 802.11 and 802.15.4 technologies. Teledyne LeCroy said that the X240 can be used for analysis of the wireless technologies alongside wired HCI UART and logic data for correlation of data in complex product designs, and that multiple units can be leveraged to improve wireless capture performance; it can also be synced with other Teledyne LeCroy protocol analyzers to support time-aligned analysis of multiple protocol interfaces, the company added.
–Kaelus added an 40-watt upgrade option for testing passive intermodulation (PIM) on its iPA-0707A battery portable PIM analyzer. The existing model offers 20 watts of carrier power, but Kaelus said that sometimes that power level is not sufficient for testing external PIM. The company said that the equipment upgrade for existing units includes a new battery and a full service and calibration along with the addition of the 40W amplifier.
–Tektronix has added two new source measure unit modules for its Keithley 4200A-SCS parameter analyzer, meant to ensure accurate low-current measurements in complex test set-ups. The company said that the 4201-SMU and 4211-SMU are “designed specifically for test setups with long cables, switch matrices, gate contacts to the chuck, and other fixturing.”
“High load capacitance resulting from elaborate test setups is a growing problem as current levels are reduced to save energy, as is the case with testing the large LCD panels that ultimately end up in smartphones or tablet computers,” said Peter Griffiths, general manager for systems and software at the Keithley division of Tektronix. “Our new modules excel at making stable low-current measurements and will immediately benefit many of our existing and future customers.”