Gentex Continues Growth Mode

    ZEELAND — Gentex Corp. began the year by posting record sales and earnings, continuing the strong growth rates of recent years.

    The Zeeland-based auto supplier today reported first-quarter revenue of $129.3 million, a 12 percent increase over the $115.3 million in the same period a year ago.

    Net income totaled $29.8 million, or 38 cents per share, up 15 percent from the $25.9 million, or 34 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2003.

    During the quarter, Gentex shipped 2.98 million units of its auto-dimming automotive mirrors, an 18 percent increase over shipments in the first quarter a year earlier. The company reaffirmed its earlier guidance for a 15 percent increase in unit shipments during 2004.

    “The continued top-line growth was primarily due to higher mirror unit shipments and the continuing recognition in the marketplace of the auto-dimming mirror as an important automotive safety feature,” Gentex Executive Vice President Garth Deur said. “That top-line sales growth translated into bottom-line earnings growth for that reason as well as continued manufacturing efficiencies and improved capacity utilization.”

    Gentex, which employs about 2,000 people at its Zeeland facilities, also announced today that its new SmartBeam system that automatically adjusts a vehicle’s headlamps from low beam to high beam will debut this fall as an option on the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2005 Cadillac STS.    

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