Gentex Sets Annual Income Mark

    ZEELAND — Gentex Corp. finished 2003 by posting another strong quarterly increase in sales and earnings.

    The Zeeland-based auto supplier on Tuesday reported fourth quarter sales of $123.9 million, a 15 percent increase over the $107.3 million in the same period a year ago. Net income for the quarter was $29 million, or 38 cents per share, up 20 percent from the $24 million, or 32 cents per share, during the fourth quarter of 2002.

    Annual sales for 2003 reached a record $469 million, an increase of more than 18 percent from the $395.2 million recorded in 2002. Net income for the year rose nearly 25 percent, from $85.7 million, or $1.14 per share, in 2002, to a record $106.7 million, or $1.39 per share.

    Driving the strong sales growth and earnings performance was the growing popularity and market penetration of Gentex’s auto-dimming mirrors, more than half of which are now equipped with electronic features. Mirror shipments in 2003 grew 17 percent over 2002, to 10.3 million units.

    “The penetration of auto-dimming mirrors continues toincrease on a global basis as our customers offer auto-dimming plus othermirror-borne electronic features to consumers in nearly every vehicle segment that exists today,” Gentex Executive Vice President Garth Deur said.

    Based on J.D. Power & Associates’ estimates for 2003 automotive production of 16.3 million units in North America and 16.1 million units in Europe, Gentex anticipates mirror shipments can grow this year by 10 percent to 15 percent as market penetration improves.               

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