Foolish Forecast: Navteq Coming Home

In what may be its last report as an independent company, digital map czar Navteq (NYSE: NVT  ) will report third-quarter earnings results Wednesday. To help get a read on where the company is going, let's backtrack a little.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or waffle? With the company due to be acquired by Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) , only 17 analysts still post ratings on Navteq. Five still have a buy on shares, while 12 say hold.
  • Revenues. On average, analysts estimate a 36% jump in sales, to $194 million.
  • Earnings. Profits are predicted to rise 4% to $0.29 per share.

What management says:
With the Nokia purchase pending, numerous concerns have been voiced about the ongoing availability of maps to Navteq customers, such as potential Nokia competitor and GPS maker Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN  ) . But Nokia and Navteq management have reassured the market that they intend to continue support for all Navteq customers, such as a recent deal to be the primary supplier of location data for wireless service provider Helio, a partnership between Earthlink (Nasdaq: ELNK  ) and SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM  ) . Navteq CEO Judson Green has stated that Navteq will remain an independent operating company under Nokia, with the ability to serve all customers.

What management does:
Several nonrecurring items including a stronger euro helped boost Navteq's margins earlier this year, but management has cautioned that the balance of the year might not see similar benefits.

Margin

4/06

7/06

10/06

12/06

4/07

7/07

Gross

51.7%

51.3%

51.5%

52.6%

53.7%

54%

Operating

25.3%

23.9%

24.2%

26.4%

27.7%

28%

Net

33.1%

32%

17.3%

18.9%

20%

20.6%

All data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data reflects trailing-12-month performance for the quarters ended in the named months.

One Fool says:
With Nokia's purchase of Navteq expected to go through, there may not be much more of a public story to follow with the company. But with many investors and analysts believing Nokia's $8.1 billion offer was way too much for Navteq, it may be interesting to check back in a year or so and see if the pairing has gone well, or more the way of eBay's (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) deceptively non-cash $1.4 billion dollar write-off for Skype. Either way, the investing public will be missing out on a great growth story in the digital mapping space.

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