Cobra Electronics' citizens band radios and radar detectors are good buddies when you're on the road. Its principal Cobra division markets CB and marine radios, two-way radios, radar detectors, power inverters, jump-starters, and GPS navigation systems for professional drivers under the Cobra brand. The firm's PPL unit peddles personal navigation systems and speed camera location detectors under the Snooper name. Cobra Electronics also manages the AURA database of photo-enforcement locations (including speed camera and red-light detector positions) in North America and Europe. Cobra's products are sold in the US, Canada, and Europe through consumer electronics stores, discount retailers, and truck stops.
Improving global economic conditions are helping to power up Cobra's business. In the red since 2006, the company posted its first profit in 2010 -- $1 million -- rebounding from $10 million in losses the year before (largely related to its 2006 acquisition of PPL). Cobra also saw its revenue turn around in 2010 as consumers eased discretionary spending. The firm recorded $110 million in sales, a 5% improvement from $105 million in 2009. Its big sellers included satellite navigation, CB radios, and radar detectors. The company's top line had been descending since 2007 as tough economic conditions took hold in the US, Canada, and Europe, where most of its sales are generated. The declining demand led to layoffs and cuts in marketing, administrative, and selling expenses, saving $4 million in 2009. The firm anticipates global economic conditions will continue to improve in 2011 and further bolster demand for its products.
To keep sales on the up and up, Cobra has introduced new products. In 2010 it launched Cobra iRadar, a speed and red-light camera detector that also allows users to control its settings via smartphones, and Cobra PhoneLynx, a system that enables users to make and receive mobile phone calls from phones in any home or small office. In early 2011 Cobra rolled out a GPS system with 5-inch screen targeted to truck drivers.
Cobra is a big name at national retailers. The electronics maker was named as Wal-Mart's exclusive supplier of two-way radios in 2009. It also expanded its product selection for Best Buy and penned a distribution deal with Advance Auto Parts. The moves help to offset declines it faced with once top customer Circuit City, which shuttered its stores earlier in the year.
The company was founded in 1961 by chairman emeritus Carl Korn.
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