Gentex reports year-end sales increase 7 percent


Zeeland-based Gentex is a global manufacturer of products for the automotive, aerospace and fire industries. Photo via

Auto industry supplier Gentex Corporation (Nasdaq: GNTX) announced this morning that sales for calendar year 2012 were up 7 percent over 2011, although gross profit margin declined from 35.3 percent in 2011 to 33.9 percent in 2012.

Net sales in 2012 increased by seven percent to $1.1 billion, compared to $1 billion in 2011.

The decline in profits was primarily due to the annual demand for price reductions and product mix by its auto company customers, partially offset by purchasing cost reductions, according to the Zeeland-based company.

Net income in 2012 increased by two percent to $168.6 million, although it reflects a $5 million pre-tax settlement with Texas company American Vehicular Sciences.

AVS sued Gentex last June claiming patent violations regarding the new SmartBeam automatic headlight dimming system that Gentex made for the 2012 BMW Series 3. In late December, Gentex reached a settlement/license agreement with AVS.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, Gentex net sales were flat at $260.3 million, compared with the same quarter in 2011.

“We are quite pleased to report that our gross profit margin improved sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2012, despite a sequential decrease in net sales,” said Gentex chairman/CEO Fred Bauer. He added the year-end results demonstrate “continued positive efficiencies we are experiencing within our operating expenses.”

SmartBeam and driver assist products shipments are predicted to increase by 10 to 15 percent in 2013, although the Rear Camera Display mirror shipments are predicted to decrease by about 25 percent or more.

Customer orders for the RCD have been impacted by the federal government’s fourth delay in implementing a new Transportation Safety act that will require the rear camera on new vehicles, to prevent drivers from accidentally backing over small children behind them.

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