The value of persistence Featured

1:23pm EDT October 25, 2006
When the temptation to sell out during financially challenging times presented itself, Joel Moskowitz, chairman president and CEO of Ceradyne, resisted because he was convinced that the company would survive and the technology would fulfill its promise.

“In the late 1980s, Ceradyne was struggling to achieve profitability, and we had suitors knocking on our door who were interested in exploring the possibility of buying Ceradyne,” says Moskowitz. “I always felt that the stock price was not reflecting the intrinsic value of our technology and represented to potential buyers that we would not be interested unless the offer recognized our future.”

Moskowitz’s commitment to the company paid off in another case, as well, when the company got a lowball offer for one of its business units.

“One particular competitor of Ceradyne was very interested in buying our Thermo Materials operation in Atlanta, Ga.,” says Moskowitz. “Again, because of our financial difficulties, they made an offer that I felt was inadequate, and nothing came of it. This same operation in Atlanta, Ga., has been profitable for a number of years and is directly responsible for the new plant that we are building in Tianjin, China.”

Through much of its existence, Ceradyne made steady but modest growth gains, despite the huge promise that Moskowitz saw in its core technology. During much of that phase, the company was involved heavily in research and development and didn’t turn solidly into the black until the early 1990s. Its largest line of business, personal body armor, took decades to develop into Ceradyne’s flagship product.

But the end result is a company that expects to hit $600 million in revenue this year.