Maker Of Glare-Reducing Mirrors Weathers Toyota’s Perfect Storm and Chip Designer Bridges World Between The Analog And The Digital

Gentex makes high-tech rearview mirrors for the auto industry. Its other products include a rear camera display for the mirror.

The top auto-dimming rearview mirror firm hopes its business doesn’t get too wrecked by the Japanese carmaker’s problems with faulty brakes, which caused it to suspend production on several models.

“While production may slow, Toyota is likely to make it up later,” said Connie Hamblin, vice president of investor relations. “Or even potentially (the cuts) could be made up by a different customer.”

Michigan-based Gentex commands more than 80% of the worldwide market for auto-dimming mirrors, which reduce glare. Magna International (MGA), through one of its units, is a distant second.

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Besides Toyota, customers include General Motors, Ford (F), Volkswagen, Audi and BMW, among others.

Gentex said in a Jan. [Read the full article]

Austin, Texas-based Silicon Laboratories (SLAB) helps bridge that divide. The company develops mixed-signal integrated circuits that combine both analog and digital circuitry.

Such components are a sort of Rosetta stone that allow people to interact with digital streams from their televisions, cell phones and other electronics.

You need only to look to young people to see the importance these chips play, Silicon Labs’ CEO Necip Sayiner says.

“Today, they are spending an increasing amount of their awake moments staying connected. Every week that goes by, we see new, cooler products for them to communicate with one another, to play, to get their work done,” Sayiner told analysts at a conference this month. “The integrated circuits are becoming an increasingly bigger portion of our daily lives, getting embedded in everything around us.”

Silicon Labs was formed in 1996 by semiconductor veterans. One co-founder, Navdeep Sooch, is chairman. [Read the full article]

Around the world. Just ask global contract research organization Parexel International (PRXL), the third-largest provider of outsourced clinical trial studies to biopharma and government.

Parexel handed down guidance on Jan. 11 and then boosted its forecast two weeks later, when it reported its latest quarterly results.

Parexel International researchers view image scans to assess the effectiveness and safety of treatments. The company performs clinical research.  View Enlarged Image

For its next quarter, Parexel expects revenue between $288 million and $293 million. Earnings for the quarter should be 25 to 28 cents.

For its 2010 fiscal year, which ends in June, Parexel expects revenue of $1.125 billion to $1.145 billion. Analysts see earnings at $1.04 a share.

“Being a global company, it takes a while to compile all our numbers,” said Josef von Rickenbach, Parexel’s chief executive. [Read the full article]

The No. 2 U.S. mall owner is faced with a takeover bid by its larger rival, Simon Property Group (SPG), which went public on Tuesday with an offer Simon valued at $10 billion.

The two, however, have not engaged in formal discussions. The takeover bid rapidly escalated this week into a public brawl, with Simon pressuring General Growth to begin talks while the bankrupt company looks to pursue an exit process on its own terms.

General Growth, responding to a strongly worded Simon letter from Wednesday, said it wants to maximize value for its constituents and was engaging in a process to do that fast. “Understandably, your objectives are not aligned with ours,” it said in the letter to Simon. “We hope you will, nonetheless, participate in our process.”

General Growth offered Simon Property a nondisclosure agreement in December, but Simon did not sign it, the source said. [Read the full article]

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