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LCC International, Inc.

LCC International, Inc.


7925 Jones Branch
Drive McLean, Virginia 22102
U.S.A.
Telephone: (703) 873-2000
Fax: (703) 873-2100
Web site: http://www.lcc.com

Public Company
Incorporated: 1983
Employees: 977
Sales: $193.97 million (2005)
Stock Exchanges: NASDAQ
Ticker Symbol: LCCI
NAIC: 237130 Power and Communication Line and Related Structures Construction; 238990 All Other Specialty Trade Contractors; 334220 Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing; 517212 Cellular and Other Wireless Telecommunications; 517910 Other Telecommunications; 541618 Other Management Consulting Services; 541990 All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; 561499 All Other Business Support Services; 811213 Communication Equipment Repair and Maintenance

LCC International, Inc., is a global leader in wireless communications technology. The company serves as a consultant to telecommunications companies around the world seeking to install, expand, or improve mobile phone networks. Although publicly traded, a majority of voting shares are held by the company's founders.

ORIGINS

LCC International, Inc., was formed in 1983 by PhD engineer Rajendra Singh and his wife Neera. The original entity was known as LCC, Inc. According to a rare interview in the Washington Post, the initials stood for Lunayach Communications Consultants, referring to a family name. Start-up capital was reportedly just $1,000, divided between the couple, who had each studied at Kansas State University, among other institutions.

At the time, the cellular phone industry was in its infancy; the radio frequencies that would make it possible were just being released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). LCC's specialty was using computers to help decide optimum locations for cellular towers.

Eventually based in Arlington, Virginia, LCC quickly (and quietly) established itself as by far the leading wireless engineering firm, working behind the scenes for major telecoms in the United States and abroad. It was seen as a valued third party whose independence from communications equipment manufacturers allowed it to be objective and efficient.

Revenues were $24 million by 1990, when the company had 100 employees. It was quite profitable, too, with net income of $10 million. LCC established a Cellular Institute in 1991; it was opened to the public several years later and eventually renamed the Wireless Institute of LCC.

By the mid-1990s, LCC had been active in 60 countries around the world. It employed 600 people and was scrambling to hire more engineers, who made up half of its growing workforce. Revenues were $104.5 million in 1995. The company had total debt of about $40 million.

The business became known as LCC, L.L.C., in 1994 after it was acquired by Telecom Ventures, a joint venture Raj Singh had formed with Washington investment bank the Carlyle Group. (Telecom Ventures also invested in a number of wireless licenses abroad.)

1996 IPO

LCC was reincorporated in Delaware in June 1996, taking the name LCC International, Inc. It went public on the NASDAQ in September 1996, offering 5.25 million shares at $16 each. The initial public offering (IPO) was greeted warmly; share price rose to $20 by the end of the first day. Company founders Rajendra and Neera Singh netted $40 million from the sale while retaining two-thirds of the company.

It did not take long for the new public company to make an acquisition. It announced the purchase of Norway's European Technology Partner A/S (ETP) in January 1997. ETP had been formed in 1991 and had grown to $6.5 million in annual sales in its first five years. It had 49 employees. ETP had developed tools to maximize land-line telecommunications systems, and LCC was eager to apply this expertise to the wireless realm. The acquisition cost $13.75 million. ETP was acquired through a newly formed Norwegian subsidiary, LCC Europe A/S, which a year later replaced the company's German subsidiary as primary sales and support center for Europe.

One of LCC's U.S. clients, Pocket Communications Inc., went bankrupt in early 1997, owing LCC $9.6 million. Around the same time, NextWave Telecom Inc. defaulted on a $20.5 million loan agreement with LCC. A year later, LCC was weathering the Asian financial crisis, which delayed payments from telecom providers in the region. It remained focused on growing international operations, hiring Geoffrey Carroll to replace CEO Piyush Sodha, who left in January 1998 to help start up undersea fiber optics company Global Crossing International. Carroll had been head of Philips Electronics B.V.'s $2 billion Origin B.V. information technology unit. LCC aimed to raise international sales from 30 percent to 50 percent of its business.

LCC was adding new lines of business, venturing into the cell phone tower leasing market through its Microcell Management Inc. subsidiary. In 1998 the company added 900 sites to its existing 100 through the acquisition of Koll Telecommunication Services LLC. The buy added its first West Coast office, in Mission Viejo, California.

RESTRUCTURING AND MANAGEMENT CHANGES INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

Carroll stepped down in October 1998, whereupon Raj Singh returned to the CEO position. The company was going through hard times, cutting 100 of its 700 positions as it sought to regain profitability. The late release of a key software product did not help. Once virtually the sole player in its niche, by this time LCC had seven competitors in the United States.

C. Thomas Faulders III, formerly an executive with BDM International and COMSAT Corporation, became LCC's next CEO in May 1999. The company's CFO and controller left around the same time to join an e-commerce start-up. There was still much excitement at LCC, however, as its stock price quadrupled during the year's tech boom. LCC's 600 employees were all offered stock options. Faulders told the Wall Street Transcript that since the business was not capital-intensive, finding and keeping good people was more of a challenge than raising cash.

LCC had raised $22 million in August 1999 by selling its field measurement systems and network planning software divisions to LM Ericsson Telefon AB. The units had together employed about 100 people in Virginia and Norway. A few months later, LCC sold its 197 cell phone towers to Pinnacle Holdings Inc. for $80 million.

COMPANY PERSPECTIVES


For more than 20 years, the people of LCC have helped to invent the wireless industry, contributing countless innovations in engineering technology, deployment, operations and business methodology to enable the wireless networks that have changed the face of communication. The wireless industry has become global in its scope and ambitions. LCC has grown to serve it. Today our work force unites people from more than 50 nations, working together on every continent worldwide except Antarctica. We are truly as diverse as the world we serve.

The company continued to invest in Europe. It acquired a 15 percent stake in Germany's Plan + Design Netcare AG for $2.7 million in August 2000. Wireless antenna mast producer Transmast Ltd. of Finland sold its Milan, Italy-based engineering and project management unit to LCC for about EUR 1 million in January 2002. In 2002 LCC also bought the telecom consultancy of Smith Woolley. Smith Woolley Telecom was based in Cambridge and had 75 employees and annual revenues of more than £7 million ($10 million).

LCC lost $28.7 million in 2002 as revenues slipped to $67 million in a dismal telecom environment. The company's services remained important as ever, though, as carriers sought to manage both data and voice communications over wireless networks.

There continued to be turnover among C-level executives. CEO and Chairman Thomas Faulders left the company in 2004, as did the company's CFO. Julie Dobson, formerly chief operating officer of TeleCorp PCS, Inc., was named non-executive chairman of the board in March 2005. Dean J. Douglas, a former vice-president at IBM's Global Services business segment, became CEO in October 2005.

LCC lost $12.5 million in 2005 on flat revenues of $194 million. The firm then employed nearly 1,000 people. In March 2006, the company announced that it was refocusing on its core consulting, design, and network optimization strengths. Its U.S. network deployment business was subsequently sold to Nokia Corporation.

KEY DATES


1983:
LCC International, Inc., is formed by Rajendra and Neera Singh to design wireless networks.
1990:
Revenues are $24 million; the company has 100 employees.
1991:
Wireless Institute of LCC is established.
1995:
Revenues are $104.5 million.
1996:
Initial public offering is made on the NASDAQ.
1997:
LCC enters the cell phone tower leasing business.
2000:
The cell phone towers are sold to Pinnacle Holdings.
2005:
The network deployment business is sold to Nokia Corp.
2006:
The company refocuses on its core consulting, design, and optimization strengths.

The company released new software tools for designing and optimizing the latest generation of broadband wireless networks. In September 2006 LCC announced a new service for its customers. Offered via a partnership with France's Zandan, it tested wireless multimedia content on a variety of mobile platforms.

Frederick C. Ingram

PRINCIPAL OPERATING UNITS

LCC Americas; LCC EMEA; LCC Asia Pacific.

PRINCIPAL SUBSIDIARIES

LCC Design Services LLC; Technical Staffing International LLC; LCC (UK) Ltd.; LCC Southern Europe Holdings S.R.L. (Italy); LCC Telecom Management Services, Inc.; LCC do Brazil Ltda.; Koll Telecommunications Services, L.L.C.; LCC Asia Pacific LTD PTE (Singapore); LCC Europe A/S (Norway); LCC Middle East Holdings, Inc.; LCC Middle East FZ-LLC (United Arab Emirates); LCC Algeria LLP (U.K.); LCC Italia S.R.L. (Italy); LCC Egypt (18%); LCC International GmbH (Germany); LCC Deployment Services UK Ltd.; LCC International Consulting (Shanghai) Ltd. (China); LCC Wireless Design Services LLC; Detron LCC Network Services, B.V. (Netherlands; 51%); LCC China Services LLC (United States); Beijing LCC Bright Oceans Communication Consultants Co., Ltd. (China; 49%); LCC Wireline, Inc. (80%); LCC Wireless Communications Espana S.A. (Spain); LCC Design and Deployment Services Ltd. (Greece); LCC India, Private Limited.

PRINCIPAL COMPETITORS

American Tower Corporation; LBA Group Inc.; V-Comm L.L.C.; Wireless Facilities, Inc.

FURTHER READING

Alleven, Monica, "Sharing the Wealth with Employees," Wireless Week, February 28, 2000, pp. 44ff.

Beckman, Kristen, "LCC Focuses on International Market Development," RCR Radio Communications Report, January 26, 1998, p. 37.

Bourrie, Sally Ruth, "Growing Tower Companies Turn to Outsourcing," Wireless Week, November 6, 2000, p. 39.

"Ericsson to Buy 2 LCC Units for 22 Mln USD," Afx News, August 26, 1999.

Henry, Shannon, "LCC Loses $7.1 Million, Cuts Staff by 12 Percent," Washington Post, November 11, 1998, p. C10.

Hoover, Kent, "Layoffs First Step in LCC Recovery Plan," Washington Business Journal, November 13, 1998, p. 18.

Knight, Jerry, "Investors Earn Their Stripes with an Exotic Security," Washington Post, March 10, 1997, p. F29.

, "Rejuvenated IPO Market Greets Two Local Firms," Washington Post, September 26, 1996, p. D12.

"LCC Adds to Euro Focus," Communications Today, February 1, 2002.

"LCC International, Inc.," IPO Reporter, October 21, 1996.

"LCC International Introduces Tools and Services for Broadband Design," Wireless News, February 3, 2006.

"LCC Invests in Italtel Sistemi," RCR, September 20, 1999, p. 41.

"LCC Places Greater Urgency on Restructuring; Equity Partner Eyed," Communications Today, August 17, 1998.

"LCC Prepares for Business Expansion," Communications Today, May 13, 1998.

"LCC Revenue, Income Down; Workforce Cut," Newsbytes, August 7, 2001.

"LCC Signs Ex-EDS Man for Wireless Outsourcing Deal," Computergram International, January 30, 1998.

"LCC to Acquire Tower Business from Koll Telecommunication," RCR Radio Communications Report, June 1, 1998, p. 16.

"LCC to Follow Through with Tower Strategy," Communications Today, February 19, 1999.

Mills, Mike, "LCC Stock Plunges Day After CEO Departs; Wireless Firm's Founder Blames 'Irrational' Worries over Asian Crisis," Washington Post, January 10, 1998, p. F1.

, "LCC Stock Rises After Appointment; McLean Company Named Geoffrey Carroll As President and CEO," Washington Post, January 21, 1998, p. C12.

, "Unwired: Cellular Visionaries Raj and Neera Singh Took Calculated Risks in Building a Company, an Industry, a Fortune," Washington Post, February 16, 1998, p. F12.

, "Wireless Communications' Quiet Company; Arlington's LCC May Be Publicity-Shy, but It's No Secret to the Industry's Big Players," Washington Post, January 2, 1995, p. F5.

Mooney, Elizabeth V., "LCC Exec Wants Piece of Outsourcing Biz," RCR, June 22, 1998, p. 20.

, "LCC International Ready for International Public Offering," RCR Radio Communications Report, September 16, 1996, p. 63.

, "LCC to Use Fleet Vehicles for Monitoring," RCR Radio Communications Report, June 2, 1997, p. 37.

Noguchi, Yuki, "McLean Firm LCC to Sell 7 Million Shares to Public," Technews.com, September 9, 2003.

"Nokia Adds LCC Assets to U.S. Infrastructure Biz," RCR Wireless News, June 12, 2006, p. 28.

"RF Engineering for Network Optimization: Market Niche Comes into Its Own," Communications Today, February 26, 1998.

Smith, Brad, "Juggling Resource Allocation," Wireless Week, September 16, 2002, p. 25.

Wayne, Debra, "LCC Gets Double Hit from PCS Players," RCR Radio Communications Report, April 14, 1997, p. 1.

Wenninger, Barb, "Catching the Wave Africa-Style," GEO Connexion, January 2003, pp. 4041.

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