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Gentex Profits Rises

Total automotive revenues increased by 10%.


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, a supplier of vehicle mirrors, saw a 3% rise in profits for the fourth quarter, with revenue growth offset by a dip in gross margins.

Fourth-quarter earnings were $29.6 million, or 19 cents a share, compared to $28.6 million, or 18 cents a share, in the comparable 2004 quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 19 cents a share.

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Revenue for the Zeeland, Mich.-based firm in the fourth quarter was $138.3 million, a 10% increase from a year ago. The Thomson First Call estimate was $142.4 million. Unit shipments to offshore automakers increased by 17% during the quarter, primarily due to increased shipments to European automakers.

Based on light vehicle production forecast for calendar year 2006, Gentex projects a 10% growth in mirror unit shipments in the first quarter of 2006 and in the entire year 2006.

Gentex said, "The start-up challenges on certain production lines are taking longer to work through than the company previously anticipated and these issues are making it more difficult for the company to offset ongoing customer price reductions."

Gross profit margin declined by 400 basis points to 36% in the fourth quarter of 2005. This was due to annual customer price reductions that became effective in the third quarter, and not achieving improvements in manufacturing processes that would have offset these factors.

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