Pacific Crest: Digital Navigation Stocks Poised to Grow, But is Competition Too Great? (GRMN, NVT, TRFC)

Includes: GRMN, NVT, TRFC
by: William Trent, CFA

Steve Lidberg of Pacific Crest Securities initiated coverage of the GPS and digital mapping sector. He ranks Navteq (NVT) outperform, Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) and (TRFC) in-line. He did not launch coverage of TomTom.

As Tech Trader Daily reports,

Lidberg points out that adoption of navigation devices is still very low. “With cumulative sales of navigation devices approaching 11 million units for 2006, and penetration of in-dash automotive navigation at approximately 7% in the United States, navigation still has significant room to run, in our view. We expect unit sales to grow at a compound annual rate of more than 35% through 2010.”

Despite his enthusiasm for the sector, Lidberg comes up with only one actual “outperform” rating: that goes to Navteq, which is one of the two primary providers of digital map information.

NVT-GRMN-TRFC 1-yr comparison chart:

NVT-GRMN-TRFC 1-yr comparison chart

There is no doubt that the group is poised to grow. The question is whether the existing companies can maintain their advantage in the face of growing competition.