Investor Essentials Daily

This company supports aerospace giants from behind the scenes

April 9, 2024

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Park Aerospace (PKE) is a vital but less publicized player in the aerospace and defense industry, specializing in advanced composite materials for commercial and military applications.

It supplies specialty materials for jet engines, aircraft structures, and other aerospace uses, including high-performance adhesives, lightning strike protection, and thermal acoustic insulation.

The company supports major programs like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the F/A-18 Super Hornet, along with commercial aircraft from Boeing, Airbus, and others. Park Aerospace’s products are also used in NASA and private space missions.

Its role in both new production and the sustainment market for aging aircraft has led to strong financial performance.

The company is poised for continued growth due to trends in military modernization and aviation expansion.

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While large defense contractors like Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Northrop Grumman (NOC) regularly make headlines with their massive contracts to build major weapons platforms, many smaller but equally important companies supply critical components and materials behind the scenes.

One such company is Park Aerospace (PKE), a long-time manufacturer of advanced composite materials for the commercial aviation and defense sectors.

Park Aerospace has established itself as a leading global supplier of specialty materials used to manufacture jet engines, aircraft structures, and other aerospace applications.

Among Park Aerospace’s key products are high-performance film adhesives branded as AeroAdhere for bonding composite primary structures on aircraft, providing both strength and corrosion resistance.

The company also manufactures lightning strike protection materials under the Electroglide brand that shield aircraft from electrical damage during storms.

Additional materials include thermal acoustic insulation to muffle engine noise and regulate temperatures, as well as composite honeycomb and core materials used in aircraft interior panels and cargo liners.

Some of the key programs and platforms Park Aerospace supports include the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, where the company supplies adhesive films that bond composite structures and lightning strike protection for the Joint Strike Fighter’s stealthy airframes.

As the F-35 remains the Pentagon’s largest weapons program, this work will continue for decades.

Park Aerospace also supports the F/A-18 Super Hornet as the U.S. Navy replaces its aging F/A-18C/D Hornets with newer Block IIIs, where the company’s materials play a role in manufacturing new Super Hornets on Boeing’s (BA) production lines.

The CH-53K King Stallion, a new heavy-lift helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps utilizes Park Aerospace’s film adhesives and honeycomb composites.

Major commercial aircraft OEMs like Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer, and others also rely on Park Aerospace for adhesives, coatings, and other materials across their jetliner families.

Park Aerospace has also supported NASA and private space companies with specialized materials for applications in extreme environments.

In addition to new production, Park Aerospace is also well positioned to benefit from the growing military and commercial aircraft sustainment markets.

As fleets age, demand rises to repair, refurbish, and upgrade existing aircraft – areas where the company’s adhesive films and lightning strike materials see strong demand.

This steady stream of work from both defense and commercial customers has translated to impressive financial results.

Park Aerospace’s Uniform return on assets (‘‘ROA’’) rose from 3% in 2016 to 15% in 2023.

Take a look…

Looking ahead, the secular trends of military modernization and aviation growth point to a bright long-term outlook.

While lesser known than prime contractors, Park Aerospace plays a vital role in supporting them from the factory floor up. As a critical tier-one supplier entrenched in major programs, the company remains well-placed for many years of aerospace and defense growth.

Best regards,

Joel Litman & Rob Spivey

Chief Investment Strategist &
Director of Research
at Valens Research

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