But as the business and its disclosure policies have improved, so too has my attitude toward the top brass. Today, I'm about as pleased with them as I have ever been.
Why? Part of my giddiness has to do with performance. The business booked $25.9 million in revenue during its second quarter, up 59% year over year. Gross margin declined somewhat because of higher personnel and materials costs but that didn't keep adjusted earnings from more than doubling over last year's Q2.
Cash flow, too, was excellent. After factoring out $8 million spent in Q1 for settling a shareholder lawsuit, TASER booked roughly $3.5 million in free cash flow through the first six months of the year.
Don't underestimate that total. Management is investing heavily in growth. Accounts receivable was up more than 90%. Research and development more than doubled. Yet TASER continues to produce excess cash, further strengthening a balance sheet that, as of today, sports $44.3 million in cash and investments and no debt.
But, great as all that is, it's not why I'm so pleased with today's report. What am I smiling for, then? Hype. Or, I should say, lack of hype.
For example, CEO Rick Smith refused to conjecture about the potential sell-through for the new C2, pointing out that retailers such as Cabela's (NYSE: CAB ) would now have the tough job of selling the device. Exactly.
Smith then went on to describe the C2 and the forthcoming XREP -- which, when completed, will allow any standard shotgun to fire an incapacitating electric projectile -- as "high risk, high reward" projects. We knew all that, of course. It's just the first time I've heard Smith say it.
Call it the new, more conservative TASER. Will it last? I hope so; hype is white noise to be ignored rather than embraced.
By explaining the risks inherent in its business, and what it's doing to address them, management has turned away from its pugnacious past. Over the short term, that's very unlikely to make ticker-hugging traders happy. But for a Fool ... well, it doesn't get much better.
Zap your brain with related Foolishness:
- Are TASER-armed robots really a good idea?
- Watch out for that shockwave!
- Finally, TASER is taking the right steps.
TASER is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Eleven of the dozens of stocks in the newsletter's market-beating portfolio have more than doubled. Discover their identities with a 30-day free trial to the service.
Cabela's is aHidden Gems pick.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers once owned a fly zapper. Tim didn't own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Find Tim's portfolio here and his latest blog commentary here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy would take a bullet for your portfolio.