3 Takeaways From iRobot Corporation Earnings

iRobot shares fell after its first-quarter report. Here are three things we learned.

Apr 23, 2014 at 4:45PM

iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) reported quarterly results yesterday after the bell, and shares promptly fell more than 10% in today's early trading.

Curiously, iRobot actually turned in solid first-quarter revenue of $114.2 million, which translated to net income of $5.3 million, or $0.18 per share. Analysts, on average, were looking for earnings of just $0.16 per share on sales of only $112.26 million.

So what happened?

Luckily, late last week I outlined three more things to keep an eye on going into iRobot's report, so let's dig in to see what the robotics specialist said.

On guidance
First, I wanted to know whether iRobot would revise its full-year guidance. Last quarter, it issued a weaker-than-expected 2014 outlook, but I couldn't help but wonder at the time whether that guidance was conservative given iRobot's history of underpromising and overdelivering.

Despite today's beat, however, iRobot simply reaffirmed existing guidance, which calls for 2014 revenue between $560 million and $570 million and earnings per share of $1.00 to $1.15. That's certainly not bad, but was "disappointing" considering that analysts, on average, went into yesterday's report modeling earnings of $1.11 per share.

In short, this appears to be the main culprit behind today's drop. 

On progress in telepresence
Next, I wanted to hear more details on how iRobot's young telepresence business is coming along. 

Rp Vita

iRobot's RP-VITA continues to gain traction. Source: iRobot.

We already knew iRobot recognized roughly $1 million in revenue in the fourth quarter from its RP-VITA health care bots, and last month it announced the business-centric Ava 500 was ready for shipment. On the latter, iRobot CEO Colin Angle even suggested a few days later that they already had "a few orders on the books" despite the Ava 500's high price.

When pressed for details regarding the Ava 500 orders during iRobot's subsequent earnings conference call, Angle elaborated:

[W]hile we're not releasing the names of those orders, we're very excited about them. They're very high quality customers. So, that we have completed our beta program; we have converted some of our beta customers into sales; and we are -- we have a very strong pipeline of customers following that.

In addition, while we didn't receive any specific revenue numbers, Angle also suggested the RP-VITA "continues to gain traction as doctors, hospitals, and patients realize the value of remote diagnosis." He went further to say that "telemedicine has been spurred in part by the Affordable Care Act, which is funneling more patients into a system plagued by physician shortages."

On accelerating home robot sales
Finally, I wanted to see progress on iRobot's home robot segment.

After all, last quarter iRobot told investors to expect home robot sales to grow 17% to 20% and comprise 90% of all sales by the end of this year, making them easily the most crucial piece of iRobot's business.

Irobot Roomba

iRobot's new brushless Roomba 880.
Source: iRobot.

iRobot didn't provide any details on sales of its new brushless Roomba 870, which was only announced last month and undercut the price of its higher-end 880 by $100. However, iRobot did state it has finally expanded the distribution of the Roomba 880 from just its website to limited domestic retailers and select European and Asian markets. Before that, iRobot says, Roomba 880 sales on its website exceeded those of all other new products over the same time frame. 

In addition, and without providing specific details, iRobot stated its new Scooba 450 is "enjoying success" and "resonating with customers."

Finally, iRobot looks forward to recognizing its first full year of revenue from the less expensive Braava floor sweeping robots, which launched last summer and are a derivative of iRobot's acquisition of Evolution Robotics in late 2012. The Braava is enjoying particularly strong sales overseas, where it helped drive strong performances in both China and the EMEA region.

Foolish takeaway
As it stands, there were no big surprises in today's report, so I won't be letting go of my shares.

Don't get me wrong. I understand why the market is displeased with iRobot choosing not to raise guidance given its first-quarter beat, and shares do look expensive on the surface trading at 39 times last year's earnings and 26 times next year's estimates.

However, while I'm not backing up the truck today, that doesn't mean the stock's not worth holding. Over the long term, iRobot remains a clear leader in the robotics space, and its potential to improve the lives of millions of people is just too great to ignore. That's why, if shares continue to fall in the weeks ahead, I'll be happy to add to my position.

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Steve Symington owns shares of iRobot. The Motley Fool recommends iRobot. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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