Garmin purchases Nautamatic Marine Systems

CAYMAN ISLANDS – Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN) has acquired substantially all the assets of Nautamatic Marine Systems, Inc., manufacturer of the TR-1 Gold and Gladiator marine autopilots, the company reported in a recent statement. Financial terms of the transaction were not released.

All of Nautamatic’s 28 employees have joined Garmin’s U.S. subsidiary, Garmin International, Inc. and will be based in the facilities previously occupied by Nautamatic in Newport, Ore., and Dania Beach, Fla. The acquisition is expected to be neutral to Garmin Ltd. earnings in 2007, the company stated.

Nautamatic Marine Systems, which has operated under the name TR-1 Autopilots and was founded in 1994 by Graham Dorland and Doug Ford, is known for producing a patented marine autopilot technology that does not require a rudder-angle sensor. These sensors are often the biggest installation and maintenance challenges in other autopilot systems, according to Garmin. In addition, Nautamatic’s patented ShadowDrive technology lets boaters make manual course changes from the helm without disengaging the autopilot, the company said. TR-1 Autopilots are currently factory installed by dozens of boat manufacturers and are offered as an aftermarket accessory through a network of independent dealers.

Garmin will initially continue to offer the existing TR-1 marine autopilot products and intends to develop new marine autopilot products that will be integrated with Garmin Marine Network products.

“Nautamatic is known for its technology innovation and the reliability of its autopilots,” said Dr. Min Kao, chairman and CEO of Garmin, Ltd. “We believe this technology will be an excellent fit for Garmin and will enable us to better serve our marine customers by expanding our product offerings.”

“My colleagues and I are very excited to be joining Garmin,” said Doug Ford, formerly chief operating officer of Nautamatic, who has joined Garmin following the acquisition. “Garmin shares our vision and our focus on innovation, engineering excellence and customer service.”

This acquisition will enable Garmin to develop additional capabilities for the Garmin Marine Network, which already combines features like GPS, sonar, radar, XM WX Satellite Weather, 3D “mariner’s eye” topside view or “fish eye” underwater navigation perspective, auto guidance, and a touchscreen interface.

Neyland promoted to senior marine manager

In related news, Garmin has promoted John Neyland to senior manager of marine marketing and OEM sales. Neyland’s marine industry experience includes his recent position as a regional marine sales manager for Garmin. Previously he ran his own business for several years as a marine installer where he gained experience with radars, sounders, autopilots and other marine products.

Neyland will oversee the integration of the Nautamatic sales team with the Garmin sales team. He will also develop future programs to expand Garmin’s presence in the marine OEM and NMEA install-based market, according to the company. With the addition of an autopilot line and Garmin’s recent introduction of a new marine product line up, including the addition of an expanded line of radars, Garmin is looking to expand its marine market.

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