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Garmin added more than 70 products to its roster in 2006, cranking out a 78% increase in unit volume to 5.4 million. This boosted sales 33% to $1.8 billion. Earnings per share increased 64%, to $2.35, and cash flow increased 46%, to $361.9 million.
The company's auto and mobile segment was the standout performer, with a stunning 170% increase in sales to $1.08 billion. Garmin successfully sought to boost sales by equipping its products with cool features like auto traffic detection, MP3 players, language translators, currency converters, travel guides, digital photo organizers, and bright displays.
That growth compensated for lagging performances in the aviation and marine segments, which posted meager revenue increases of 2% and 5%, respectively.
Management has already taken actions to correct that situation; it plans to launch several next-generation products in 2007. Garmin projects that each of these two segments will grow roughly 20% this year.
Putting it all altogether in a fiscal 2007 forecast, Garmin sees a 41% increase in revenues, to $2.5 billion, and a 15% increase in earnings per share, to $2.70. That's heady growth for a company of Garmin's size, and it's attracted competition that wants a piece of the action. Competitors include Sony
Despite its big-name rivals, Garmin has built powerful competitive advantages. It enjoys a strong distribution footprint, having established solid relationships with Target
Garmin has also forged a number of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreements, installing its wares in vehicles from Enterprise, BMW, Honda Motorcycle, Premier Marine, and Cessna Aircraft, among others.
Impressively, management has avoided significant component shortages by maintaining its own manufacturing facilities. It has the luxury of quickly reengineering its products to work around any impending shortages.
Garmin also has an extensive patent portfolio, with 308 issued and 207 pending. Patent specialist Ocean Tomo lists the company in its widely followed index of 300 companies that "own the most valuable patents relative to their book value."
Going into 2007, I suspect that Garmin will exceed its 50% growth rate; the company has a history of being conservative on its estimates. The 10-K also notes that the company purchased a megafacility in Taiwan, which should boost its manufacturing capacity to 11 million to 12 million units. That's yet another sign that Garmin's growth should continue.
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Fool contributor Tom Taulli, author of The Complete M&A Handbook, does not own shares mentioned in this article. He is currently ranked 1,590 out of 24,619 in CAPS. The Fool's disclosure policy always knows where its towel is.