Universal Electronics can help couch potatoes and TV junkies end multiple remote madness. The company makes One For All-branded universal remote controls with preprogrammed infrared codes, allowing them to operate virtually any remote-capable device, including TVs, DVD players, digital video recorders, and set-top boxes. Its One For All remotes are sold by retailers worldwide. Universal Electronics also markets audiovisual accessories under the One For All name outside North America, and it develops Nevo-branded wireless networking products. The company sells and licenses its technologies to consumer electronics and computer manufacturers and cable companies, including DIRECTV, its largest customer.
Universal Electronics rings up about 70% of its sales overseas. China is its largest foreign market by far, accounting for nearly a third of the company's international sales. Japan and the UK are other big international markets for Universal Electronics, accounting for about 13% and 7% of its foreign sales, respectively.
Sales and Marketing
DIRECTV is Universal Electronics' largest customer, representing 12% of its sales in 2011, compared with 21% in 2009. In addition, consumer electronics giant SONY and its subcontractors accounted for about 10% of the company's 2011 sales.
The company's sales jumped 41% in 2011 vs. 2010, due primarily to the acquisition of Enson in late 2010, which contributed about $150 million in sales in 2011. Excluding Enson's contribution, Universal's sales increased nearly 4%, buoyed by increased sales in the Latin American subscription broadcast market and the acquisition of new US customers in the business category. Sales to businesses grew nearly 50% in 2011 vs. the prior year, offsetting a decrease in consumer sales over the same period. Net income grew 32% in 2011 vs. 2010.
Demand for Universal Electronics' products has increased, even as tough economic conditions lingered worldwide. Indeed, sales have grown steadily, albeit gradually (with the exception of the big jump in 2011), throughout the global financial crisis. The firm attributes the growth (and banks its future advances) on the steady adoption of high-definition TV and digital video recording devices, which have become less expensive and more widely available, as well as by increased subscription broadcasting rates.
Universal Electronics is pursuing further penetration of the more traditional OEM consumer electronics markets, while also looking to expand its sales and marketing efforts with subscription broadcasters and OEMs in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Its purchase of Enson in late 2010 enhanced its ability to compete in the OEM and subscription broadcasting markets, particularly in Asia. In 2010 it launched a new subsidiary in Brazil, which has fostered business growth in Latin America.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In November 2010 subsidiary UEI Hong Kong Private Ltd. acquired Enson Assets Ltd. for about $126 million. Hong Kong-based Enson was a leading manufacturer of remote controls and was a big supplier to the company prior to its acquisition. Enson operated two factories in China. The deal fortified Universal's relationships with such key electronics firms as Sony, Panasonic, and Toshiba
Eagle Asset Management owns more than 18% of Universal Electronics' shares.