UPDATE 1-TomTom shares at 6-month high as sales stabilise

Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:23am EDT

* PND sales steady at 108 mln euros in second quarter

* Q2 net 8 million euros vs f'cast 1.7 million

* Revenue 250 million euros vs f'cast 230 mln

* Company sticks to FY revenue guidance of 900-950 mln

* Shares up 5.5 percent to six-month high (Rewrites first paragraph, adds CEO and analyst quotes, shares)

By Gilbert Kreijger

AMSTERDAM, July 25 (Reuters) - TomTom NV, Europe's largest maker of personal navigation devices (PNDs), said sales of its flagship products had stabilised in the past quarter after years of decline, raising hopes its turnaround efforts are paying off.

Results for the second quarter through June beat analysts' expectations and pushed TomTom shares up as much as 5.5 percent to a six-month high of 4.28 euros.

"Despite the contracting PND market ... TomTom is doing really well," SNS Securities analyst Martijn den Drijver said in a note, expecting positive effects from new product launches including a Nike Inc sports watch that tracks a user's jogging route.

Yet the Dutch-based group stopped short of predicting a rebound and stuck to its full-year forecasts, given that its fortunes are closely tied to those of European car makers whose sales have slumped.

Its shares are well below a peak above 56 euros set in 2007.

TomTom's sales of personal navigation devices (PNDs), its biggest source of income, have been in decline for several years because of a saturated market for the products, increased competition from navigation services on mobile phones and lower prices.

Its biggest direct rival is U.S.-based Garmin Ltd, but it also competes with Google Inc and phone makers such as Nokia Oyj and Apple Inc, which also uses TomTom's maps on its own products.

"We saw demand for our PNDs stabilising, so demand in the second quarter of 2013 was at the same level as in the second quarter of 2012. That was a good result," Chief Executive Harold Goddijn told Reuters.

Yet he stopped short of calling it a new upward trend.

"We see ... especially in Europe the decline of the market is slowing down. Especially in countries where consumer confidence is not as weak as in some of the southern European countries. So that is kind of encouraging," Goddijn said.

STRONG QUARTER

Some analysts said the full-year outcome might prove better than the company was indicating.

"The 2013 outlook is maintained, with revenues guided at 900 to 950 million euros vs consensus at mid-range 929 million euros. This, given a strong Q2, seems somewhat cautious," said analyst Marc Zwartsenburg at banking group ING in a note.

TomTom said the total size of the PND market in Europe fell 14 percent in the second quarter year-on-year, slowing from a 19 percent drop in the first quarter. But its own PND revenue was steady at 108 million euros.

To offset a shrinking PND market, TomTom has been expanding partnerships with auto makers such as France's PSA Peugeot Citroen and Italy's Fiat SpA, building navigation systems into cars - but that market has also been hit by lower demand.

"In all the market statistics I see continued depressed demand for the type of products we are trading in. Car sales are ... at a historic low," Goddijn said.

Hit by overcapacity and weak demand, European car sales slumped to their lowest six-months total in 20 years in the first half of 2013.

TomTom also struck a deal last year to license its maps to Apple and sells apps for Apple's iPhone, but Goddijn declined to say how much these products contributed to total sales.

TomTom's quarterly net profit of 8 million euros ($11 million) was down 14 percent from a year ago and revenue of 250 million euros was down 4 percent. Analysts had expected net profit of 1.7 million on revenue of 230 million.

TomTom stuck to its full-year forecast for adjusted earnings per share of about 0.20 euros, down 50 percent, and revenue in a range of 900 million to 950 million, down from 1.06 billion. ($1 = 0.7555 euros) (Editing by Sara Webb and David Holmes)