Gentex profit slips, warns on Europe

Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:30am EDT

(Reuters) - Gentex Corp (GNTX.O), which makes rear-view mirrors that reduce glare, posted a lower quarterly profit and said orders were slowing because of economic uncertainty in Europe, its biggest market.

Shares of the company, which also makes rear camera display (RCD) mirrors, fire protection products and dimmable aircraft windows, were down about 7 percent premarket on Tuesday.

"The European markets are increasingly uncertain and are becoming more volatile," Chief Executive Fred Bauer said. "As a result, we have more downside risk for any products that we're shipping to customers in Europe."

Europe accounted for about 45 percent of the company's total mirror unit shipments in 2011.

Gentex said its automotive net sales fell 1 percent to $261.9 million in the third quarter. Net sales were flat at $268.2 million.

Gentex, one of the few companies in the United States that makes RCDs, said in July that four of its customers plan to change their primary RCD display location to center consoles from mirrors.

The company said on Tuesday it expects two of those four customers to begin that transition in 2013 and the others in 2014.

Net income fell to $41.9 million, or 29 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $43.4 million, or 30 cents per share, a year earlier.

Gentex is already under pressure due to delays in implementing the U.S. Kids Transportation Safety Act, which requires all new vehicles in the United States to be fitted with cameras and RCDs by September 2014.

Shares of the company, which have fallen more than 40 percent of their value since January, closed at $17.24 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

(Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Don Sebastian)

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