Penril Corp. President Kenneth Miller predicted last week that the Rockville technology company could continue a pattern of growth through acquisition despite high interest rates.

"You can be sure that we are actively pursuing business and product acquisition today," Miller told the company's annual stockholders meeting. But Miller also warned that for Penril--which has made eight acquisitions in the past eight years--the costs of borrowing to finance new purchases have become "unreasonable.

"This is because the debt service expense washes away a large portion, or sometimes all, of the profits of the business being acquired," he said. But, Miller added, with interest rates dropping and a recessionary economy, "some companies are now more willing to spin off their restructured business plans."

Miller also noted that the company now has a record $17 million in working capital, up 25 percent from the previous fiscal year. In addition, Miller said Penril has available to it $10 million of a $15 million unsecured credit line at Riggs National Bank.

Penril, for the fiscal year ended July 31, reported record profits of $1.78 million. Sales rose 20 percent to $40.07 million. Miller stressed that those results came at a time which he characterized as "the most difficult period experienced by the worldwide electronics industry in years."

Miller said there was "some softness" in the company's fourth quarter, but said that in the first quarter new business rose 14 percent to $10.4 million, predicting that Penril "may generate new records" during the current fiscal year.

Penril produces a variety of electronic products, including modems, a device used to send and receive data over voice lines. In addition, Penril makes electronic measuring, testing and audio equipment.