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EmPower demand cited as Astronics is added to stock index

Astronics today cited its EmPower line of in-seat power outlets as a key driver to its success in recent years, after the firm was added to the Russell 3000 index.

The index measures the stock performance of the largest 3,000 US companies, based on total market capitalization.

Astronics says EmPower has been installed on over 200,000 aircraft. These systems allow passengers to charge their personal electronic devices and laptop computers as well as providing power for in-flight entertainment systems (IFE).

Despite its success in this niche market, Astronics has felt the pinch from the global economic recession.

While overall fiscal first quarter sales improved 21.7%, the firm reduced its 2009 sales outlook to a range of $219 and $225 million.

On announcing the results in May, company president and CEO Peter Gundermann said: "While we achieved a record sales level in the first quarter, we faced a very difficult environment at the same time. Some of our most significant customers reduced their production plans during the quarter, resulting in decreased demand for our products. This lower demand put pressure on our earnings, and we have responded accordingly by cutting costs and aligning ourselves more appropriately to customer expectations. We believe that conditions will strengthen as the year progresses and as cost-saving adjustments made in the first quarter play out."

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