Gentex Q1 net income up 14 percent as revenue softens


The Gentex Full Display Mirror.

Gentex Corp. said its first-quarter net income surged 14 percent to $111.2 million from a year earlier, as the mirror and electronics supplier managed to boost mirror deliveries despite a production glitch that hampered revenue during the quarter.

The rise in income was guided by a 12 percent uptick in international mirror shipments. Exterior mirror shipments outside of North America grew by 16 percent.

The production problem — which affected the supplier’s ability to deliver full display mirrors during the quarter — had a 2 percent impact on the supplier’s revenue, which still rose 3 percent to $465.4 million from 2017.

“While we were disappointed with the overall revenue performance during the first quarter of 2018, we were able to outperform our underlying markets by approximately 6 percent when you consider the lower automotive production levels during the quarter,” CEO Steve Downing said in a conference call to investors.

The production problem has been resolved and shipments have resumed, said Downing.

“We didn’t shut down a plant or anything. There were enough products in production and in shipment to those customers that it didn’t affect the customer at all,” said Downing. “So there’s not like there will be a huge catch-up.”

Net sales for the supplier’s core automotive business were $455 million this quarter, Gentex said in a statement, up 2 percent from 2017.

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Gentex shipped 10.6 million auto-dimming mirrors in the first quarter, up 7 percent from 2017. Deliveries of interior mirrors reached 7.6 million and exterior mirrors 2.9 million in 2017, both increases of 7 percent from the year-earlier period.

For the quarter, mirror deliveries outside of North America totaled 7.5 million and mirror shipments in North America totaled 3.1 million.

Gentex repurchased 9.3 million shares of common stock, leaving 26 million shares available for repurchase under the current program, Gentex said. Former CEO Fred Bauer repurchased 5.5 million of the 9.3 million shares after he retired in January.

Full display mirror updates

The full display mirror is available on the Chevy Bolt, Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, Cadillac CTS, CTS-V, CT6, XT5, Escalade and Escalade ESV, said Neil Boehm, chief technology officer at Gentex.

Shipments for the Subaru Ascent will begin during the second quarter, said Boehm, the first Subaru vehicle to tout the full display mirror in North America.

The mirror also will appear on the Subaru Levorg in Japan, Europe and Australia, on the Lexus LS and Toyota Alphard models in Japan, and on the Infiniti QX80 and the Nissan Armada.

Throughout the rest of the year, the company is scheduled to begin shipping “six additional nameplates” with its current customers, said Boehm, and expects to ship 500,000 units of the full display mirror in 2019.

Gentex ranks No. 91 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, based on its $1.64 billion in automotive parts sales in 2016.




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