Garmin Ltd. reported revenues in the Outdoor/Fitness segment increased 16% to $71 million in the first quarter. Overall, total revenues in the first quarter of $664 million, up 35% from $492 million in first quarter of 2007.
Earnings per share increased 5% to $0.67 from $0.64 in first quarter 2007; excluding foreign exchange, EPS increased 17% to $0.69 from $0.59 in the same quarter in 2007.
“We are pleased with our performance in the first quarter, particularly given the general slowdown in the global economy. Demand for our automotive/mobile products continued beyond the traditionally strong fourth quarter holiday season, with another quarter of robust triple-digit growth. While the first quarter is typically our slowest quarter, we were nonetheless able to achieve healthy growth in each of our business segments and each geographic area.
We look forward to a successful second quarter, with an array of new and exciting portable navigation and outdoor/fitness devices becoming available, including:
— The nuvi® 800 series, which offers industry-leading speech
recognition technology and enhanced MSN Direct data services
— The nuvi 900 family, a navigation device that integrates digital
television for mobile consumers
— The Forerunner® 405, a fitness device that integrates new wireless
features in a watch form factor
— The Colorado(TM) series of outdoor navigators, featuring an innovative
scroll wheel and pre-loaded maps with 3-D mapping presentations
These new product introductions represent significant advances in technology, with features and functions that we believe customers will find compelling. Furthermore, we are in continuing talks with a number of wireless carriers in our primary markets who are interested in nuvifone. We believe this new device will change the way people connect, communicate, and navigate their mobile world. Nuvifone also marks a significant step for our company, and one that we feel positions us for long-term, sustainable growth.
Response to our revolutionary new line of marine products continues to be very positive. We are very pleased with the 30% growth we have achieved in the first quarter. The expansion of our product lines, including marine instruments and large screen, network chartplotters have expanded our OEM and aftermarket marine opportunities.
The new Colorado series of handheld devices and our redesigned Forerunner 405 have generated a great deal of excitement in our outdoor/fitness business. These products are becoming available just as people are venturing outdoors again, and we expect to announce additional new devices in this business segment in the coming months.
Our aviation segment is poised for new growth, thanks to new products and innovations like the FAA's supplemental type certification for Garmin Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT(TM)), which is designed to integrate with our acclaimed G1000 avionics suite. This technology presents a 3D depiction of terrain, obstacles and traffic on the G1000's primary flight-display so that the avionics panel replicates what pilots would see outside the cockpit on a clear day — another leap forward in situational awareness. These announcements as well as our continuing work to roll out additional OEM platforms, including the Embraer Phenom 100, have us optimistic about aviation opportunities during the second half of 2008.”
Financial overview from Kevin Rauckman, Chief Financial Officer:
“Overall we are pleased with our financial results for the first quarter, and we remain focused on the operational efficiency of our business,” said Kevin Rauckman, chief financial officer of Garmin Ltd. “Our revenue and earnings per share during the first quarter grew 35% and 5% respectively. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, EPS for the quarter grew 17%, from $0.59 to $0.69. Automotive/mobile segment's first quarter revenues increased 43% compared to the prior year and our marine segment revenue grew 30%, thanks to the continued acceptance of our new product lineup.
Gross margin for the overall business remained stronger than we had anticipated in the first quarter. The auto/mobile segment margin stayed flat at 43% when compared to the first quarter of 2007, as we achieved raw material cost savings and operational efficiencies. Our marine gross margins improved to 58%, compared to 49% during first quarter 2007, thanks to heavy interest in our new and innovative product mix. Our outdoor/fitness category and aviation segment gross margins remained stable during the first quarter at 53% and 64%, respectively.
Operating margin declined 130 basis points in our auto/mobile segment in the first quarter of 2008 when compared with the year-ago quarter but were steady at 24% when compared to the fourth quarter 2007. Our marine segment operating margins improved to 32%, compared with 26% one year ago. Operating margins declined in our aviation segment to 33%, which is attributable to additional R&D investments in the growing business jet market. Likewise, our outdoor/fitness segment declined to 27%, compared to 35% in the first quarter of 2007, which is attributable to discounts on some of our older products to make way for our newer fitness and outdoor handheld devices.
We maintained our strong cash flow and cash position. We generated $166 million of free cash flow in the first quarter of 2008, resulting in a cash and marketable securities balance of $1.2 billion at the end of the quarter.
We experienced an increase in the effective tax rate to 19 percent for the first quarter and we now expect this rate for fiscal 2008. The primary reason for the increase was a change in tax law related to the repatriation of earnings from our Taiwan subsidiary.”
Fiscal 2008 Outlook
We remain optimistic about the long-term success of our business and our ability to serve customers and distributors around the world. While we are pleased with our strong performance in the first quarter, it is important to note that the global economic slowdown has impacted companies across the board. We will continue to monitor the economic climate closely. As in previous years, we intend to provide a formal update to our fiscal 2008 financial expectations during the second quarter 2008 earnings conference call.
Net income (earnings) per share, excluding foreign currency
Management believes that net income per share before the impact of foreign currency translation gain or loss is an important measure. The majority of the company's consolidated foreign currency translation gain or loss results from translation into New Taiwan dollars at the end of each reporting period of the significant cash and marketable securities, receivables and payables held in U.S. dollars by the company's Taiwan subsidiary. Such translation is required under GAAP because the functional currency of this subsidiary is New Taiwan dollars. However, there is minimal cash impact from such foreign currency translation and management expects that the Taiwan subsidiary will continue to hold the majority of its cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities in U.S. dollars. Accordingly, earnings per share before the impact of foreign currency translation gain or loss allows an assessment of the company's operating performance before the non-cash impact of the position of the U.S. dollar versus the New Taiwan dollar, which permits a consistent comparison of results between periods.