Unova Leaves L.A. for Washington
By KATE BERRY
Unova Inc. is moving its headquarters from Woodland Hills to the Seattle area, where Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Brady lives and the company’s largest unit is based.
Unova, a supplier of mobile computing and wireless network products and a maker of machine tools for car and airplane parts, has been searching for ways to cut costs given the sharp drop in capital spending by its customers over the past few years.
The company laid off 900 employees last year, and took a $1 million charge in the first quarter for relocation costs to Everett, Wash.
The move reflects Unova’s growing reliance on its Everett-based unit, Intermec Technologies Corp., a maker of bar code scanners and wireless networks.
Intermec, which has manufacturing facilities in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Cincinnati and in several European countries, is now its largest operating unit.
Since 1999, Intermec’s share of overall company revenues has risen to 57 percent from 41 percent. In that time, the parent company’s overall revenues have fallen 37 percent, to $1.3 billion, from $2.1 billion.
“It just seemed like a good idea to get everybody under the same roof,” said David Brooks, a company spokesman.
Brady, who became chief executive in 2000, moved to the Seattle area last year and is expected to be followed by about 10 members of the company’s corporate staff who are still in Woodland Hills.
Intermec’s offices are located next to a Boeing facility and the unit, which has been in the Seattle area for 36 years, provides wireless networks and handheld computers to Boeing. Unova also supplies machine tools to other Boeing facilities that make metal parts.
“This is purely to consolidate and focus corporate staff with our largest and growing operation,” Brooks said.
For the first quarter ended March 31, Unova posted a loss of $14.9 million, compared with a loss of $18.2 million for the like period a year ago. Revenues fell 6.4 percent to $273.7 million.
The company’s stock, once a high-flier that reached $24 in the early 1990s, is showing signs of resurgence. Shares have nearly doubled since March and hit a 52-week high of $7.93 on May 8. The stock hit a low of $4.05 on July 25, 2002.