Navteq ( NVT) delivered better-than-expected earnings late Wednesday in what could be one of the digital map data provider's last quarterly reports as a public company. The Chicago, Ill.-based Navteq recorded a first-quarter profit of $32.9 million, or 33 cents a share, rising from $30.2 million, or 31 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The company said that revenue for the first quarter jumped to $224.4 million from $159.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts expected a profit of 32 cents a share on sales of $215.9 million, according to Thomson Financial. Shares of Navteq, which is being acquired by Nokia ( NOK) in an $8.1 billion deal pending regulatory approval by the European Commission, rose 0.4% during Wednesday's session to $74.10 but were flat in the after-market session. "We are quite pleased with the company's first quarter revenue growth, particularly in this uncertain economic environment," said CEO Judson Green. "The first quarter was also the beginning of a very important investment year for the company as we continue to develop the next generation products and services our customers demand. As we anticipated, first quarter earnings growth was dampened by a planned increase in spending on capabilities we consider essential to our future success." Navteq's operating income was up a meager 6% year over year to $40.8 million. The company blamed the small increase on heavier project investments, the full impact of operating expenses related to 2007 acquisitions and expenses from the Nokia acquisition. Navteq added that it did see a favorable impact of a stronger euro.
While revenue from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas rose compared to the same period in 2007, Asia Pacific revenue declined 43% from the first quarter of 2007. The company's in-dash map units rose 16% from a year ago, despite poor automobile sales, while portable map devices surged 129% from the first quarter of 2007 with solid growth in Europe. Total map units jumped more than 91% to 6.08 million, but were down nearly 30% sequentially. Earlier Wednesday, Garmin ( GRMN) missed analysts first-quarter earnings targets amid the global economic downturn, warning that economic conditions will remain a factor on future growth. Among other widely held tech and gadget stocks, Google ( GOOG) added 2.8%, while Apple ( AAPL) eased 0.6%. Intel ( INTC) was lower by 1.6%.