Quick, somebody pinch me.
That's always my first thought when a company goes almost exactly the way I thought it would. It's pretty rare that I put a strong endorsement on a stock, but Fools have seen me gushing about Garmin Ltd.
After seeing a lot of potential in pessimistically priced shares, Garmin's stock roared ahead in 2003, nearly tripling in 12 months. Still a solid company but pushing an excessive earnings multiple, I was hoping to see the stock back at a more reasonable valuation again to pick up more of the company. I got my chance earlier this year when it turned in less-than-stellar, but still solid, earnings. Shares then were available for a little more than $30.
Thanks to a good second quarter and blockbuster earnings released yesterday, shares now sell for north of $50. Garmin logged $193.6 million in revenue for its third quarter, an increase of 43% from the prior year. Earnings were $67.1 million, a 90% increase from last year. With foreign currency fluctuation factored out, Garmin earned $0.58 per share, knocking the socks off its previous guidance of $0.42 to $0.45 per share and impressing analysts.
One of few negatives from Garmin's last earnings release was a drop in its gross margins to the low 50% range, which had management concerned. This quarter showed improvement in this area, with gross margin kicking back up to 57.7%. Nothing makes me feel better than a team that spots "soft areas" of the business and then corrects them.
Going forward, Garmin is once again priced as a performer. Garmin has sustained 20%+ revenue growth for almost a decade and should be able to continue on this path, putting it in a stable growth category. Many investors are more comfortable in high growth investments such as Garmin or Starbucks
At a recent major wireless industry show, the floor was lined with companies promoting all sorts of GPS solutions for mobile consumers. There's certainly more opportunities out there for Garmin's products, and the company looks well positioned to capitalize on its share.
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Fool contributor Dave Mock is not afraid to pull over and ask for directions when he's lost -- though if he owned a Garmin GPS, he could save himself the embarrassment. He owns shares of Garmin and Starbucks.