November 1, 2017 / 11:17 AM / a year ago

Garmin beats profit estimates on strong demand for outdoor gadgets

(Reuters) - Garmin Ltd (GRMN.O) beat profit estimates for the eighth straight quarter and raised its full-year forecasts amid higher demand for its outdoor, marine and aviation devices, sending its shares up 5 percent.

FILE PHOTO: A Garmin logo is pictured on a building along the Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach, Florida March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

The company has focused on wearable gadgets such as outdoor watches and marine cameras to counter a relentless decline in sales of its traditional automobile navigation devices.

Higher margins from a mix of devices that track everything from heart rates and calories to underwater depths helped the company beat estimates in the third quarter.

Garmin’s outdoor business, which sells Fenix multisport watches and Astro pet trackers, notched a 31.2 percent jump in sales in the quarter. Sales at the aviation unit rose 16 percent.

Sales in the auto segment, the company’s biggest unit, fell 11.9 percent to $189.1 million. But it was the smallest decline in three years, helped by original equipment manufacturing deals and niche gadgets for recreational vehicles and boats, Longbow Research analyst Joseph Wittine said.

Wittine was positive about the company’s future growth, highlighting Garmin’s aviation devices and its supplier deal with BMW AG (BMWG.DE).

Garmin has been trying to stanch sales declines at its auto business by entering into deals with automakers to supply inbuilt navigation and entertainment systems.

The company said it expects revenue of $3.07 billion and proforma earnings per share of $2.90 for 2017, compared with its previous forecast of $3.04 billion in revenue and proforma earnings of $2.80 per share.

In the third quarter ended Sep. 30, net income rose to $147.4 million, or 78 cents per share, from $125.1 million, or 66 cents, a year earlier.

Gross margin improved to 58.4 percent from 56.2 percent a year ago.

The company reported proforma earnings of 75 cents per share, above the average analyst estimate of 66 cents.

Net sales rose to $743.1 million, above the estimate of $721.2 million.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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