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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

[Technology] Navigation Magic

The Power of Navigation Recently a colleague of mine bought a new BMW loaded with luxury features such as heated seats and onboard navigation system. One day I finally got a chance to ride the expensive car as we were visiting a client sixty miles away. What I enjoyed the most on this luxury ride was not just the warm heated seat but also the navigation system which guided us thru the complex Los Angeles highway system. What is the magic behind the powerful navigator? It's GPS or Global Positioning System.

GPS is probably one of the most exciting invention of the century. Basically what it does is it allows you to know the exact position you are at right now by receive signal from the satellite orbiting the Earth. Combining a map with the receiver and now you can know where to make the right turn if you are to go to a new destination. As the technology is getting more and more popular, this is probably a good time to take a look at the companies related to this technology. Here they are:
  • Garmin Ltd. (GRMN): the George Town, Cayman Islands based company is the world leader in manufacturing global positioning system related products. The company basically sells its products to retail outlets and aircraft manufacturers. For 2005 the company was generating revenue of $1 billion with $798 million coming from the consumer sector. For the previous year the company generated 769 million in total revenue. The stock has also been doing well rising from $40 per share in May of 2005 to $75 today, an 87% jump within a year.
  • Trimble Navigation Ltd. (TRMB): the Sunnyvale, CA based company provides GPS technologies to industries such as agriculture, military, construction, transportation and telecommunications. For 2005 the company brought in total revenue of 774 million with most revenue coming from engineering and construction sector. The stock is currently trading at $40.87, slightly higher than a year ago with P/E ratio of 27.37 similar to GRMN.
  • Lowrance Electronics Inc. (LEIX): the Tulsa, Oklahoma based company manufactures SONAR and GPS products workdwide. While the SONARs are used primarily for sports fishing, its GPS receivers are used for both marins and nonmarine applications such as automotive and aviation. For the fiscal year of 2005 the company has generated revenue of 146 million, far less then the other two competitors yet 30% better compared to previous year. On January 30 of this year, the company agreed to be acquired by marine eletronics maker Simrad Yachting for $37 per share in cash. Since then the stock has been trading in the $37 range.


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