|Type||Public (NASDAQ: FLIR)
S&P 500 Component
|Industry||Imaging technology, Defense, Security, Law Enforcement|
|Key people||Andrew C. Teich, President, CEO|
|Products||thermal imaging, infrared|
|Revenue||$1.4 billion USD|
|Employees||approx 3,500 (2013)|
FLIR Systems is the world's largest commercial company specializing in the design and production of thermal imaging (infrared) cameras, components, and imaging sensors. Based in Wilsonville, Oregon, United States and founded in 1978, the company makes thermal cameras and components for a wide variety of commercial and government applications. FLIR is a component of the S&P 500 index with annual revenues in excess of USD 1.4 billion annually as of 2012. In the spring of 2013, Andrew C. Teich became FLIR's chief executive officer and president after the retirement of Earl Lewis. FLIR employs approximately 3,500 people worldwide.
FLIR took its name from the acronym for forward-looking infrared imaging systems. The company began in 1978 with airborne IR systems, and developed from 1978 to 2004 through product development and acquisitions of related companies. Originally based in Tigard, Oregon, the company relocated to Portland in the mid-1990s. FLIR teamed up with Hughes Aircraft Company in 1990, with Hughes taking part ownership of FLIR.
The company became publicly traded in a June 1993 IPO. The IPO raised $11.5 million for the company with shares offered at $12.50. In 1994, the company had grown to sales of $47 million annually. The next year J. Kenneth Stringer III was named as president of the company. The company bought Sweden's Agema Infrared System in 1997, which doubled the size of the company. Acquisitions continued the following year when they purchased Inframetrics Inc. of Massachusetts for $48 million.
President and chief executive officer Kenneth Stringer III was fired by the board of directors in May 2000 due to errors in the company's accounting practices. In September 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued FLIR over accounting irregularities. The next year three executives at the company were charged with fraudulent accounting in related to the SEC case that included claims of inflated sales. Sales at FLIR grew to $311 million in fiscal year 2003. In 2004, the company bought a building in Wilsonville from Mentor Graphics for $10.3 million to serve as a new headquarters.
Beginning in 2005 the company began supplying BMW with imaging technology for use on the luxury automaker's vehicles. Also in 2005, FLIR was named the 55th fastest-growing company on CNNMoney's list of the 100 fastest-growing tech companies. In 2006 FLIR was listed as the 83rd best small business by Forbes. The previous year they were ranked 39th. That July they announced a seven-year contract worth up to $250 million with the United States Army for cameras to be installed on helicopters.
In March 2007, the company reported that they would restate its financial statements for the period from 1995 through 2005, primarily to record non-cash charges for compensation expense relating to past stock option grants. FLIR was also sued by investors over these same allegations.
The company purchased Extech Instruments Corp. in October 2007 for $40 million. The next month FLIR executed their first stock split. FLIR made another acquisition in April 2008 when it purchased Ifara Tecnologias of Spain for about $11 million. For the 2008 fiscal year, the company recorded $1.1 billion in sales, a record for the company. On January 1, 2009, FLIR was added to the S&P 500 stock index, replacing National City Corporation. FLIR was named as the Northwest's top company by the Seattle Times in 2009, marking the third time the company was at the top (2002 and 2003). They sold off Extech Data Systems, a division of Extech which made portable printers, in December 2009, and bought security hardware maker Directed Perception that month for $20 million. FLIR continued to grow via acquisitions when they purchased bankrupt Raymarine in May 2010 for $180 million.
Headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon, the company also has manufacturing facilities in Portland, OR, Goleta, CA, Boston, MA, Bozeman, MT, Danderyd Sweden, and Westmallen UK. Worldwide, FLIR employs in excess of 1,900 people, with more than 1,200 located in the United States. As of the fiscal year ending December 31, 2008, FLIR had net profits of $203.7 million on revenues of $1.077 billion. Earl R. Lewis has been the president, CEO, and chairman of the company since 2000. The company operates three divisions; one for government business (Government Systems), one for commercial vision customers (Commercial Vision Systems, or CVS), and one for thermography (Thermography). With $569 million in annual revenue, Government Systems is the largest of the three.
The Thermography division focuses more on analytical equipment that has uses in both the industrial and commercial fields. Example products include hand-held cameras used for home energy audits and veterinary thermal imaging. The commercial vision portion of the company manufactures products from infrared sensors to infrared news cameras for use on aircraft. Markets include private security and the automotive industry. FLIR's largest division, Government Systems, sells products to a variety of government entities with products ranging through weapon sights to perimeter surveillance systems to low light cameras to laser illuminators. Products developed not merely for military applications are also sold to commercial customers, sometimes through CVS.
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- GoInfrared.com – FLIR Infrared Cameras and Thermal Imagers
- Google Finance: FLIR
- Forbes: Flir Systems