Navico lays out goals after robust 2015

DUCK KEY, Fla. — Marine electronics company Navico saw double-digit growth in 2015.
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Simrad product line director Stephen Thomas introduces new product today at the Navico press event in the Florida Keys.

Simrad product line director Stephen Thomas introduces new product today at the Navico press event in the Florida Keys.

DUCK KEY, Fla. — Marine electronics company Navico saw double-digit revenue growth in 2015, capturing market share and riding a wave of new products that collected a handful of industry innovation awards, company executives said Tuesday.

“In 2014 we were up 5 percent from 2013 and we were really proud of that,” said Louis Chemi, executive vice president and managing director of the recreational division of Navico, which owns the Simrad, Lowrance and B&G marine electronics brands. “In 2015 we were up 11 percent from 2014, so [this was] another phenomenal year.”

Chemi was speaking to nearly 50 journalists from the Americas and Europe at Navico’s annual media event at the Hawks Cay resort on Duck Key in the Florida Keys.

Chemi said he expects business to grow 15 to 20 percent this year.

“And as you can see I am not unambitious about 2016,” he told his audience. “I am looking forward to 2016.”

Navico’s two-day press event is showcasing the company’s new electronics products, which have been installed on eight boats ranging from 24 to 45 feet and five kayaks. Journalists will test the products today and Wednesday.

Navico aims to strengthen its product portfolio by focusing on developing value-price products, Chemi said. “Outside of Lowrance, we didn’t really have the value-priced products, and that’s something we’re trying to do with Simrad and B&G now,” he said. “We want to expand our footprint in that market.”

Simrad’s new GO Series and B&G’s Vulcan line consist of standalone chartplotters, sounders and combo units (with 5- and 7-inch displays) that tout lower price without sacrificing the technology evident in the higher-end products, executives said.

For instance, Simrad’s GO5 XSE and GO7 XSE feature pinch-and-zoom displays and can be paired with an array of other devices and technologies on the boat, such as autopilot and VHF radio information, said Stephen Thomas, Simrad product line director.

One of the key new technologies for Navico this year is its 3D StructureScan, which shows high-definition, wide-view 3D scanning images with high target definition.

Last year, Simrad’s Halo radar technology stood out as its prime-time product. Thomas pointed out that Halo received high praise from industry organizations in 2015. Navico won awards for Halo at the International Boatbuilders Exhibition & and Conference and the Marine Equipment Trade Show, and it was recognized by the National Marine Electronics Association, Thomas said.

Navico deputy CEO Marc Jourlait told journalists that the marine electronics industry continues to catch up with the technology of other industries such as auto.

“There is no question in my mind [that] boats are going the same way as cars, phones, watches — they will be connected, they will be integrated, and they will become smart,” said Jourlait. “And we at Navico intend to lead this next wave.”

Part of the connectivity involves better communication between Simrad and Lowrance units and outboard engines. Simrad and Lowrance will now be able to display Mercury and Suzuki engine data, Thomas said.

Navico has enjoyed rapid growth since 2009, improving its business each year through the multiple products under the three brands. Simrad focuses on the sportfish and power cruiser market; Lowrance targets inland boating and freshwater anglers; and B&G’s products are geared to the sailboat market.

Navico also continues to promote “GoFree,” its cloud-based infrastructure that allows cloud storage and wireless connectivity of products.

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