Hemant Mardia has spent more than 25 years at AIM listed communications electronics specialist Filtronic (LON:FTC) and for the last three years he has led the £22.5 million market cap group as chief executive. In that time, significant market changes have sparked a new strategy at the company as it moves to broaden its customer base and achieve higher revenues by embracing the growth opportunities presented by the fourth generation of mobile phones and infrastructure.

Mardia took on the role of chief executive in September 2008 after a period of substantial restructuring that involved the sale of several of Filtronic’s operating divisions. The remaining business, known as point-to-point broadband, was set up by Mardia in the mid-1990s and makes electronics that are used to connect mobile networks to mobile phones. However, with just a handful of major customers, the business was rocked last year when sales slumped after one of its major clients, Nera Networks, was acquired by Israel’s Ceragon Networks. That calamity partly contributed to a full year loss of £7.0 million on revenues flat at £15.5 million in 2010.

Mardia’s strategy review has focused on expansion and diversification. Not only has the existing point-to-point business been bolstered but Filtronic has also returned to the wireless infrastructure market with last autumn’s £11 million acquisition of base station player Isotek. That move came just over three years after the group exited the sector by selling its own base station business for around £150 million. With restrictive covenants connected to that deal now expired, Filtronic is hoping to capitalise on the data-heavy requirements of fourth generation mobile broadband infrastructure that is being introduced by mobile operators. In turn, Mardia is confident that the expanding group will deliver a 60% increase in revenues during the next year and that a return to profitability will follow.

Looking back on the past year, how satisfied are you with the performance at Filtronic and your strategy to develop the group?

Hemant Mardia: The positive news for us is that we have now substantially progressed on our strategy. That strategy was basically to grow the scale of the business so that we had a much greater critical mass and revenue base and also to increase the customer base so that we were more diversified. The business that we have been in, and the business I…

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