Tessco to move but stay in Md. Thriving supplier to wireless industry buys Hunt Valley site


Tessco Technologies Inc., a rapidly growing seller of equipment to the wireless telecommunications industry, has decided to stay in Maryland after flirting with a possible move out of state.

The company said yesterday that it has bought a former General Instruments Corp. building in Hunt Valley and will use it to consolidate its headquarters and distribution operations under one roof. Tessco now has its headquarters in Sparks and two distribution facilities in smaller Hunt Valley quarters.

Tessco and the state Department of Business and Economic Development have been talking for months about incentives that would help keep the company in Maryland. But while those talks have apparently achieved their purpose, company executives and DBED officials said no final agreement has been reached.

Gerald Garland, Tessco's chief financial officer, declined to reveal details of any incentive package, though he indicated one has been discussed.

"We have a high level of confidence that the state will be very supportive in this initiative," he said.

Glendening administration officials have had good reason to be concerned about the possibility of Tessco's departure. It is a home-grown company with 180 employees and $90 million in sales last year. Mr. Garland said it has been growing at an average annual rate of 23 percent a year over the past five years.

Beyond the raw numbers, Tessco Technologies is a healthy company with a secure hold on its market.

It is the leading distributor of equipment to the rapidly expanding cellular telephone, paging and mobile radio industries. Since going public at $12 in the fall of 1994, its stock has more than doubled, closing yesterday at $25.50.

"I consider it to be an extraordinary company, and we are very optimistic about seeing that they grow and prosper in this state," said James T. Brady, secretary of DBED.

Mr. Garland said consolidating operations in a single building will make the company more efficient.

The new facility at 11126 McCormick Road gives Tessco 156,000 square feet at a cost of $4.65 million, according to Binswanger, a Philadelphia-based commercial real estate company that represented General Instruments.

Mr. Garland said the cost would have no material effect on earnings.

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