Garmin Falls as Consumers Switch to Smartphones

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) --Garmin Ltd., the biggest maker of navigation devices, declined the most in more than three years after forecasting 2013 sales and profit that missed estimates, as consumers switch to smartphones for maps and directions.

Garmin’s stock fell 9.4 percent to $35.54 at the close in New York, for the biggest drop since November 2009. The stock has declined 20 percent in the past year, compared with an 11 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Full-year sales will be $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion, the company said in a statement, trailing the average analyst estimate of $2.76 billion. Personal navigation devices, which accounted for 55 percent of Garmin’s revenue last year, are falling out of favor as global satellite positioning becomes standard on smartphones, and more new cars come equipped with factory-installed navigation units, said James Faucette, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities LLC.

“If you’re Best Buy, you want to carry less than you had in the past,” said Faucette, who rates the stock an outperform with a target price of $38.97. “The personal navigation device market will shrink 10 percent and the inventory reduction will add another 3 to 4 percent to that year over year.”

Garmin forecast profit in 2013, excluding currency gains or losses, of $2.30 to $2.40 a share, missing the average analyst estimate of $2.85, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Growth in Garmin’s outdoor, fitness, marine, and aviation segments will “partially offset ongoing declines in the PND market,” the company said in the statement. Schaffhausen, Switzerland-based Garmin’s board of directors authorized a $300 million share repurchase program through the end of 2014.

Fourth-quarter net income fell 22 percent to $129.3 million, or 66 cents a share, from $165.6 million, or 85 cents, a year earlier. Sales fell 16 percent to $768.5 million, less than analysts’ $833.4 million estimate.

The lack of seasonal strength in the fourth quarter was surprising, said Rich Valera, an analyst at Needham & Co., as personal navigation devices lost favor as holiday gifts. He rates the shares a hold.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karl Baker in New York at kbaker30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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