Chelton Group continues buying spree, rapid growth

 - July 30, 2008, 7:19 AM

You’ll have to forgive Geoffrey Cooper if he can’t immediately bring to mind the exact number of companies he is responsible for overseeing. As managing director of the Chelton Group, Cooper in the last several years has become adept at juggling a multitude of duties and obligations. These days, he tends an impressive 39 companies, all of them part of the Chelton Group, in the news recently because of the synthetic-vision EFIS from its Flight Systems subsidiary in Boise, Idaho. The latest acquisition by Chelton, U.S.-based aircraft cabin audio specialist DB Systems, closed last month. “We’ve grown from less than $20 million in annual revenue 14 years ago when I sold Chelton to Cobham to more than $400 million last year,” Cooper said. “It’s been quite a ride.” The Chelton Group has expanded through acquisitions at a meteoric pace, adding antenna manufacturers, avionics producers, composite specialists and a raft of other companies, most of them aerospace-related firms in the U.S. and Europe. Some of the better known names in the Chelton stable include avionics maker Wulfsberg Electronics, antenna manufacturer Comant Industries, and Slingsby, builder of the Firefly two-seat trainer.