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 almost two-thirds of its sales overseas. China is its largest foreign market, accounting for about a quarter of the company's international sales. Europe contributes about 13% of sales, with the remainder originating in Asia and Latin America.
Universal Electronics operates about two dozen subsidiaries located in Argentina, Cayman Islands, France, Germany, Hong Kong (6), India, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Brazil, British Virgin Islands (3), China (4), and the UK.
Sales and Marketing
DIRECTV is Universal Electronics' largest customer, representing 17% of its 2012 sales, up from 12% in 2011.
The company's sales declined by about 1% in 2012 versus the prior year, while net income fell 17% over the same period. Net sales of the company's Business lines (subscription broadcasting, OEM, and computing companies) declined 2% in 2012 compared with 2011, while its smaller Consumer business posted more than a 10% increase in sales. The company blamed the prolonged sluggish global economy for depressing television sales, which affects its sales to consumer electronics companies.
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 17% of Universal Electronics' shares.