5 Things Garmin Ltd.'s Management Wants You to Know

By Markets Fool.com

Gadget maker Garmin has disappointed investors for most of the last year. Since March 2014, shares of the GPS specialist are down nearly 5%.That loss was exacerbated by its most recent earnings report: Although Garmin's revenue came in stronger than expected, its earnings and outlook proved disappointing.

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During its subsequent earnings call, Garmin's management provided several key takeaways for investors. Below are five of the most important quotes from that call.

Garmin is advertising its fitness gadgets heavily
Garmin's business is composed of five different segments, the most exciting of which is its fitness gadgets. Garmin makes several different wearable watches and bands, all designed to track an athlete's activity. Garmin's fitness-related revenue has swelled over the last year (up 70%) and now composes almost one-quarter of Garmin's sales.

But Garmin is aiming to furtherboost its fitness category. Garmin's CEO, Cliff Pemble, noted that it's advertising aggressively, to such an extent that it's even impacting its operating margin.

Operating margin declined slightly to 22%, as we made significant investments in advertising. These investments were consistent with our strategy to grow our share in the Activity Tracker market, through higher consumer awareness and improved representation at retail.

Its activity trackers are flourishing
That investment in advertising may be paying off. According to Pemble, Garmin is taking a sizable chunk of the activity tracker market, and it aims to continue that growth going forward.

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For the full year, we secured approximately 15% share in the highly competitive activity tracker market. We believe this is a significant accomplishment [...] it's one we can build upon in 2015 and beyond. 2015, we're targeting revenue growth of approximately 25% on top of the impressive growth of 2014.

It doesn't expect a GPS turnaround
Despite the excitement around its fitness gadgets, Garmin's key segment remains its personal navigators (PND). Last quarter, sales of its PNDs to consumers and automotive partners accounted for more than 40% of Garmin's revenue.

This is somewhat of a problem for Garmin, as it's a business that appears to be -- with the rise of GPS-equipped smartphones, tablets, and now smart watches -- in inexorable decline. Garmin's management, however, is well aware. During the call, Pemble offered up Garmin's outlook for its PND business.

Looking at 2015, we expect the PND market to continue along its current trajectory and we also expect to recognize less deferred revenue versus the prior year. These factors lead to a forecasted revenue decline of approximately 15%. We will focus on market share, leadership and maximizing profitability in PNDs.

Plans to target action cameras
Garmin sees an opportunity to apply its gadget expertise to action cameras, an area pioneered by companies such as GoPro. Pemble believes action cameras could be a key growth area for the company going forward, and it is seeking out partnerships to grow awareness.

We will make additional investments in the growth [area of] [...] action cameras to broaden our product line and drive market share gains. We will support these initiatives with appropriate advertising and sponsorships, like the recently announced partnership with Red Bull, featuring the VIRB Elite...

A commitment to capital returns
One of the biggest reasons to own Garmin may be its dividend. At current levels, Garmin is yielding around 3.90%. With its core GPS business facing disruption, its ability to maintain that dividend in perpetuity is somewhat suspect, but during the call, Doug Boessen, Garmin's CFO, reiterated his company's commitment to return capital to shareholders.

We plan to seek [...] approval for an increased dividend beginning with the June 2015 calendar year. [Our] proposal is $0.51 per share [...] or $2.04 annually, an increase from our current rate of $0.48 per share. We also announced [...][authorization] [...] to repurchase up to $300 million of [Garmin's] shares [...] through December 31, 2016.

The article 5 Things Garmin Ltd.'s Management Wants You to Know originally appeared on Fool.com.

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