AutoNavi Sinks to Four-Month Low on Apple Mapping Debacle

AutoNavi Holdings Ltd. sank to a four-month low amid speculation investors are selling shares of the Chinese electronic navigation tool manufacturer because of its link with Apple Inc.’s flawed mapping application.

American depositary receipts of AutoNavi fell 1.3 percent to $10.76 at the close of trading in New York, the lowest since June 4. The shares have declined every day since Sept. 24, when Consumer Reports said Apple’s new mapping software for mobile devices is “short on options.”

Apple, which apologized on Sept. 28 for shortcomings in the app including misrouted directions and inaccurately located landmarks, selected Beijing-based AutoNavi to offer map services for users of the iOS 6 operating system in China, two people with knowledge of the matter said in July. Initial problems with Chinese maps on iOS 6 weren’t caused by AutoNavi, Yongqi Yang, an executive vice president at the company, said last week, according to a report by Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s news service.

“The issue with Apple’s mapping app is probably hurting AutoNavi’s brand a little,” Andy Yeung, a New York-based analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., who rates the stock the equivalent of buy, said in a phone interview. “AutoNavi has had similar glitches in China with the latest Apple map application.”

AutoNavi’s Yang said his company’s partnership with Apple started as early as February 2010, according to the Tencent report.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment. A phone message and e-mail sent to Jessica Barist Cohen of Ogilvy Financial in New York, which represents AutoNavi, weren’t immediately returned. Serena Shi, a communications manager at AutoNavi, couldn’t be reached by phone after normal business hours in Beijing.

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