Shares of Axon Enterprise (AXON 1.48%) were up 4.5% in afternoon trading Friday after the stun gun maker reported fourth-quarter earnings that handily beat analyst expectations.
Axon has new competition in the connected law enforcement space after Motorola Systems (MSI -0.71%) introduced a suite of products it's billing as video as a service. The products include cameras, records and digital evidence management, and cloud-based support, and Motorola brings with it financial heft that could make it an even more potent rival.
Yet because Axon's Taser conducted electrical weapon (CEW) is a critical piece of law enforcement gear, adopted as the primary less-than-lethal device by virtually every major U.S. police department, the company still has a significant competitive edge.
Sales of the Taser 7, Axon's latest cloud-connected CEW, surged 61% in the quarter, driven in good part by a $20 million order placed by an international customer. That was the largest ever contract win in Axon's history.
Total revenue of $226 million trounced Wall Street forecasts of $181 million, as did adjusted profits, which came in at $1 per share versus the consensus estimate of $0.36 per share.
Analysts think Axon Enterprise has good tailwinds behind it and a strong competitive position. Baird analyst William Power raised his price target of the Taser maker to $200 per share, 25% above where the stock closed yesterday.
With its new computer-assisted dispatch system, a new drone program, and the depth of its legacy products, Axon seems well positioned to grow further.