Garmin reports a 4 percent decline in revenue but a higher quarterly profit

Garmin Ltd. on Wednesday reported a 4 percent revenue decline in the first quarter but a slightly higher profit as the maker of satellite-based navigation equipment saw business slump for its automotive products.

The Olathe-based company said the results were disappointing but not unexpected and noted that demand for its fitness and aviation navigation devices along with tighter control on expenses helped boost the bottom line.

Garmin said net income climbed to $88.6 million in the first quarter, up from $86.8 million in the same period last year.

“Because we expected revenues to decline, we entered the year cognizant of the need to closely manage expenses, which we accomplished,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s president and chief executive officer.

Shares in Garmin fell 4 percent, or $1.40, and closed at $33.68.

The stock was downgraded Wednesday from outperform to sector perform by an analyst at Pacific Crest.

For the first three months of 2013, Garmin’s revenue fell to $532 million from $557 million in the first quarter last year. Sales in North America and overseas declined in the first quarter, Garmin noted.

The company reported a 10 percent decline in its automotive and marine markets and a 1 percent dip in outdoor product revenue. However, Garmin’s aviation segment gained 10 percent and revenue for its fitness devices climbed 2 percent in the quarter.