It's been a crazy couple of days for shareholders in Taser International
Let's take things in this order: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good: Between the contract announced today and a million bucks' worth of export sales mentioned in the earnings release, we're actually seeing the international sales that Taser will need to tap in order to return to the torrid growth rates that continue to be baked into the share price.
The bad: $10.2 million in revenues turns into a measly $168,000 in earnings? That comes to roughly nothing per share. Well, let me do the calculation with some precision. Diluted shares outstanding were. we don't know. Which brings us to.
The ugly: In stark contrast to past earnings releases, there's almost zilch in the way of information here. Income sheet? Balance sheet? Cash flows? Sorry, interested investors. No soup for you (us). When I asked CEO Rick Smith why the details were left out, he replied that the company thought it best to wait for the quarterly filing.
And today, we get the UK sales release. Let's switch movies.
(Wave hand) "You don't need to see their numbers." (Wave hand) "These are not the numbers you are looking for."
Come on, guys. Do you think we're that easy to fool? I'd rather see an honest presentation of the ugly facts than this facile cover-up followed by the Jedi mind trick. Now we're supposed to forget about Q1's problems and begin salivating about future sales?
This move may mollify the chat-board simpletons, but the trouble with the strategy is that skeptical observers are now left to ponder just how bad things can be if management went to all the trouble to hide the numbers. And my best guess is that they're muyfeo.
I've mentioned before that I think Taser is little too stingy with the facts whenever they can't be packaged into a boastful press release, and unfortunately, yesterday's earnings release does little to increase my confidence. That's too bad, because in my conversations with Rick Smith, he comes across as a sharp, stand-up manager who's interested in moving this company toward major success.
And the odds are good that he'll achieve it. There's still no real opposition in the space. Stinger Systems (Pink Sheets: STIY) and Law Enforcement Associates (OTC BB: LENF) remain competition in words only. That would make this Rule Breakers pick a no-brainer if some of the uncertainty were removed. And I'm not talking about the uncertainty of bad press and whipsawing sales. That's the kind of thing real investors can live with. I'm talking about the management discount.
Are the Smiths working to enrich all investors, or just the inside batch that got out with hefty profits before everything caved in? My suspicion is that it's the former, but shareholders need to see proof. A good start would be to engage in more straight talk, even -- no, especially -- when the news is bad.
For related Foolishness:
- Taser zapped investors with this news earlier in the month.
- See Stinger shoot itself.
- Check out Stinger's scary CEO.
- What's the deal with my so-called journalism?
- Taser has started cleaning up its mess.
- Think you're getting the next Taser? Read this, this, and this before you bet the farm.
- Taser's got issues of its own, including some recent unwanted buzz.
Seth Jayson would rather be lightly Tased than clubbed, Maced, shot, or police-dogged where the sun don't shine. (He's heard stories.). At the time of publication, he had positions in no firm mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.