* Q1 EPS 23 cents vs Wall St view 21 cents
* Q1 sales almost double to record
* Sees Q2 sales up 55-65 pct from a year ago
* Shares rise 2 percent
(Adds details of results, second-quarter outlook, shares)
DETROIT, April 22 Gentex Corp (GNTX.O) posted a
quarterly profit on Thursday, supported by increased vehicle
production in North America and robust sales of its mainstay
Gentex, which makes auto-dimming rearview mirrors and fire
protection products, also forecast its second-quarter sales
would be up 55 to 65 percent from a year earlier as auto
production volumes continue to improve.
Its 2 percent to $22.69 in early trading.
First-quarter net income was $32.5 million, or 23 cents per
share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $1.6 million, or 1
cent a share. Sales rose 98 percent to a record $185.8
Analysts on average had expected Zeeland, Michigan-based
Gentex to earn 21 cents per share on revenue of $173.6 million,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company kicked off the first-quarter earnings season
for the U.S. auto supply sector. Analysts said Gentex's
forecast-beating results and bullish outlook bode well for
other suppliers scheduled to report in coming weeks.
Gentex's gross profit margin increased to 36.9 percent in
the first quarter, up from 23.8 percent a year earlier thanks
to the near-doubling of sales.
Gentex Chief Executive Officer Fred Bauer said he expected
the second-quarter gross margin to be in the same range as the
Sales of auto-dimming mirrors, which account for more than
95 percent of Gentex's revenue, more than doubled to $181.5
Sales of fire protection products fell 23 percent to $3.8
million due to the weak commercial construction market.
(Reporting by Soyoung Kim, editing by Gerald E. McCormick,