Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT ) is going to war, again. On Wednesday, The Department of Defense issued a brief stating that the Navy is interested in buying as much as $64.3 million worth of the company's PackBot robots, parts, and training in support of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This could certainly be a huge deal for iRobot -- but "could" is the operative word here. What iRobot actually received today is called an IDIQ, which is government-speak for "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity." That means the Navy likes PackBots. It thinks it wants to spend up to $64.3 million to get more of them. But when those orders will come is anyone's guess.
Don't try telling investors that. Since Wednesday, they've bid up iRobot's shares by more than 10%, and the stock is still rising as I write today. I can appreciate the enthusiasm. Though iRobot is best known for cleaning floors across the land with its Roomba and Scooba bots, the military has played a not-insignificant role in keeping its lights on.
Indeed, earlier today, iRobot Chief Financial Officer Geoff Clear told me that last year, the company was awarded a $95 million IDIQ. As of March, the Feds had made good on only $26 million worth of orders. Now that total is up to $43 million. For comparison, iRobot's trailing-12-month revenues amounted to $163 million.
Will the buying continue? I think so. Ask yourself, which would you rather have disable a roadside bomb: a 20-year-old Marine, or a PackBot? Exactly. Good thing for iRobot that the Navy seems to agree.
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Fool contributorTim Beyerswould rather have a PackBot than a guard dog. There'd be less noise. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out which stocks he owns by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.