Gentex Corporation (GNTX) shares have fallen to a new fifty two week low after Thursday's reported first quarter earnings. Shares have hit new lows multiple days before settling at Tuesday's $20.89. Despite reporting their best first quarter in company history and meeting analysts' estimates, investors were worried about a weak forecast across several units. The decrease in share price is similar to when the company beat fourth quarter earnings and shares fell.
Highlights of the first quarter were:
· Net sales for the quarter were $290.7 million, which was a 16% improvement from last year's first quarter.
· Operating income improved 9% to $65.5 million.
· Net income improved 9% as well to $46.3 million.
· Earnings per share were reported as $0.32 (versus $0.29 first quarter 2011).
· Auto-dimming mirror shipments increased 16%
· Increase of 48% in the dimmable aircraft segment.
· Average selling price of $44.93, which was a slight increase over 2011's first quarter ($44.83), but down from the most recent quarter ($46.39).
· Gross profit decreased to 34.7% from 36%.
Chief Executive Officer Fred Bauer had the following to say about first quarter earnings: "We are pleased to report another all-time record quarter in net sales and net income for Gentex Corporation, despite a volatile automotive environment." Bauer remains one of the largest shareholders of Gentex stock with a three percent stake in the company.
Higher capital expenditures related to new facilities and higher research and development hit the first quarter and will continue to hit the company during the next few quarters. In my last article, I discussed several new projects being completed by Gentex that will increase production of mirrors.
The aircraft segment continued to be a sign of great things to come for Gentex. The 48% increase in the dimmable aircraft segment was led by the Boeing (BA) 787 Dreamliner plane. The 787 plane has 100 windows, which are all provided by Gentex. Boeing has a steady backlog of planes ordered and continues to beef up production so it can meet demand. As Boeing's production increases, Gentex will benefit completely. Boeing has also expressed interest in using Gentex's dimmable technology on windows in other planes. Also in the aircraft segment, Beachcraft King Air also uses Gentex to supply fifteen windows for its 350i planes.
The company expects a 40-45% increase in demand for its SmartBeam headlamps in 2012. The product was recently announced as a standard feature on two cars from Ford (F). The Ford deal is also likely a starting point for the product being added to many more models as the popular Taurus brand will feature the product. The SmartBeam headlights reduce glare from oncoming vehicles using technology Gentex had previously used in rearview mirrors.
Analysts are predicting earnings of $0.30 in the second quarter and $0.31 in the third quarter. The full year earnings are projected to be $1.25 in 2012, representing a price to earnings ratio of 16.7. Earnings in 2013 are predicted to hit $1.47. This implies a price to earnings ratio of 14.2 for next year's earnings. Quarterly earnings for Gentex have been pretty consistent in line with analyst's targets. The last four quarters have seen earnings even, miss by $0.02, beat by $0.01, and miss by $0.01 respectively.
Gentex shares were hit earlier in the year due to legislation not passing. The legislation signed in 2008 was to make it mandatory to have back up cameras on all new vehicles. Gentex was going to be the primary beneficiary from the law signed by George Bush that has yet to be approved by the Obama Administration during this election year.
Therefore, a great buying opportunity can be had by long term investors. Gentex will not double this year. The company will continue to show gains in new technology fields, like the Smart Beam headlights. Once legislation is passed on rear cameras, shares will rally once again. The downside of course is that the legislation may never get passed. This would hurt shares but would essentially leave sales at where they are now. Rear view cameras are an add-on for several vehicles but are also becoming standards for newer vehicles that either want to offer something their competition doesn't, or to stay ahead of legislation.
Gentex recently raised their dividend 8% to $0.13 a quarter (up from $0.12). The annual dividend will now be $0.52, representing a current yield of 2.4%. The dividend has risen steadily from the $0.075 that was started in 2003. Shares have also split in 2005, 1998, 1996, and 1993, most recently splitting two for one at a price of $35.
I have a $25 price target on shares of Gentex for 2012 based on 17 times 2013 earnings. I think now is the time to begin accumulating shares based on pending legislation and growing demands in aviation.
Disclosure: I am long F.