Audiovox Corporation reported a profitable fourth quarter and fiscal year today suggesting a significant turnaround fueled by the resurgent automotive industry generally and recovering satellite radio and rearseat entertainment categories specifically. The report was terrific news for Audiovox, which held its earnings call this morning, but the good news seemed somewhat empty in view of a lack of innovative new solutions or even a stated vision of vehicle connectivity from the normally creative electronics supplier.The company built upon the good earnings news by announcing that it foresees developing a $100M OE portfolio for fiscal 2011 thanks to the addition of Qualcomm’s in-vehicle Flo-TV business and the acquisition of RSE supplier Invision and remote start/vehicle security player Omega. Invision’s existing RSE deals with GM and Toyota represented a solid shot in the arm to Audiovox’s own aftermarket business.
The electronics segment of Audiovox’s business saw a revenue decline in fiscal 2010 due to reductions in inventory and the exit from several product lines including flat panel televisions and portable navigation devices. Combining the Invision RSE line with its own aftermarket RSE business, Audiovox now boasts relationships with GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Hyundai, Porsche, Kia, BMW, Toyota, Subaru and Mazda.
With expectations of 11M cars being sold in calendar 2010 in the U.S., Audiovox expects the current boost in its fortunes to continue. The electronics segment’s sales were $375M for fiscal 2010, down 16.6% vs. the year-ago period due mainly to the decline in automobile sales and the recessionary economic environment.
The company pointed to the positive impact from new programs with Sirius XM, Sony (PS3 integration with RSE system) and Flo-TV and noted that the acquisition of Invision has been instrumental in positioning the company to build on its existing OE relationships. Many of Audiovox’s existing relationships derive from the support of its own expeditor network, one of the largest and most effective installer networks in the industry.
In its earnings call, Audiovox said mobile sales were up over the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter due primarily to increases in satellite radio, security and multi-media products, and the addition of new sales from Invision, Omega and Flo-TV. As a percentage of net sales, Electronics represented 71.4 percent of sales for the fiscal 2010 fourth quarter as compared to 62.3 percent for the comparable period in fiscal 2009 - demonstrating the increased importance of mobile electronics sales.
Audiovox is uniquely positioned for a range of significant automotive business opportunities including remote vehicle connectivity and security and video distribution within the car. The company does offer a range of head unit products that provide for multiple connectivity options and continues to offer non-desktop computing platforms suitable to automotive applications. The onset of connectivity and social networking present a range of potentially profitable opportunities awaiting a solution from Audiovox..
If there was anything missing from the earnings call it was a statement of strategy vis a vis social networking applications and Audiovox’s plans to capitalize on the trend. The partnership with Qualcomm for Flo-TV represents one avenue for Audiovox to connect with the rapidly growing smartphone market. The company introduced the Jensen Anyware Ultra-Mobile PC last fall, but there was no mention of the product on today’s earnings call, nor was their mention of Audiovox’s range of head unit offerings under multiple brands. Perhaps the next earnings call will bring news of more creative mobile initiatives and a vision of future vehicle connectivity.