The purveyor of GPS navigation gadgets lost its way last year, and its share price slipped from above the $110 mark to less than $20 per share in 13 short months. A sick global economy didn't help, and neither did increasing competition from GPS-capable smartphones like the Apple
But Garmin is getting back on its feet again. The stock price has more than doubled since hitting rock bottom last November, helped along by a hefty 24% gain on Tuesday's impressive second-quarter report.
Year over year, the results looked bleak: sales dropped 27% to $669 million and GAAP earnings fell 32% to $0.81 per share. But CEO Min Kao noted that sequential revenue growth hit 53% "with all segments showing improved revenues and margins as the first quarter seems to have represented the low point of declining revenue caused by the global economic crisis."
And the company is fighting back against all of that new competition. There's a Garmin navigation app available for BlackBerrys and Microsoft
The crisis may have tempered Garmin into a stronger business than it was before. What doesn't kill you and all that, you know. Both gross and operating margins expanded briskly from 2008 levels, thanks to cost controls and fiscal discipline. Those traits should stick around for a while when market conditions improve again. Margins will keep on rising as sales volumes climb back to normality. Looking ahead at fatter margins and higher sales, Garmin's future looks rosy indeed.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.