Los Angeles Business Journal

AeroVironment Downsizes

By Deborah Crowe Friday, May 31, 2013

AeroVironment Inc. said in a regulatory filing that it had implemented a workforce reduction, but did not specify how many people had been laid off.

The Monrovia company, which also has operations in Simi Valley, makes unmanned drone aircraft, primarily for the military, and electric-car charging stations for the commercial market. The company said in a late Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that business in both segments has been slower than expected and a workforce reduction and “organizational realignment” was necessary in both areas.

It expects to take a $1.1 million charge, primarily from severance payments, in its fiscal first quarter that ends July 27. The company will report fiscal fourth quarter results next month. AeroVironment reported 817 employees at the end of fiscal 2012, and won’t update that number until its year-end report, said spokesman Steven Gitlin.

Gitlin said the job reductions this week are designed to get the company’s operational costs in line with revenue. AeroVironment in March cut its full-year revenue guidance by about 30 percent, to a range of $240 million to $250 million – about what the company had in 2009 with significantly fewer people.

The U.S. government has delayed placing orders for AeroVironment’s unmanned aircraft, and electric vehicle sales have been slower than expected industrywide, dampening demand for the company’s charging systems. Ford Motor Co. earlier this month selected AeroVironment Inc. as its preferred home-charging station provider, but those sales are dependent on the popularity of Ford’s electric cars.

The company said it plans to shift resources toward new product introductions and similar initiatives, but did not provide details.

AeroVironment shares on Friday closed down 91 cents, or 4 percent, to $20.07 on the Nasdaq.