TomTom maps out independent future

Amsterdam — TomTom, the navigation and mapping company, intended to remain independent but could work with other groups as it focused more on winning business from leading car makers, its chairman said on Tuesday.

The Dutch group earlier reported better than expected first-quarter core earnings, despite a decline in sales.

Speaking to investors at its annual meeting, chairman Peter Wakkie stressed that the company intended to remain independent but could work with other groups as it shifts away from the consumer market.

That “doesn’t mean that TomTom is not open to partnerships of whatever kind: there is no objection to that from within TomTom, in principle”, Wakkie said. But the company would only disclose new partnerships or deals once they became concrete, he said.

In March, Reuters reported that TomTom had engaged Deutsche Bank to help seek a buyer for some or all of the company. After initially declining comment, TomTom said it had not mandated an adviser for a sale of the whole company.

The Dutch company sees itself as a provider of navigation and mapping technologies that will play an important role in assisted driving and self-driving cars. It has already signed partnerships with Germany’s Bosch and China’s Baidu.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation came in at €43m, beating average expectations of €34m.

Sales dropped by 10% to €192m as the company’s personal navigation device business shrank further.

Automotive sector sales were up 42%.