Even a robot can clear a bar if it's set low enough. Consumer and military robotics specialist iRobot
The company did post a loss, but it came on significantly wider gross profit margins during this seasonally sleepy quarter. In that sense, losing just $0.08 a share is a victory relative to the $0.30 per share it lost during last year's second quarter and the $0.20 per-share deficit that analysts were banking on.
It was balanced growth, too. The company's military robotics business, a segment that is clearly gaining in popularity given turmoil overseas and the battlefront-tested ways of its life-saving bomb detecting robots, improved alongside its consumer segment that includes the popular Roomba vacuum cleaner and its new Scooba floor-scrubbing model. The growth has been even stronger overseas, and there is an opportunity there, as international sales have grown to account for just 11% of total revenue.
The better-than-expected report now finds iRobot fine-tuning its guidance for all of 2006 by raising the lower range of its initial outlook. The company is now looking to generate between $182 million and $192 million in revenue this year. It is also expecting pre-tax profits to come in between breakeven and $4 million.
This all adds up to a good start for iRobot this trading week. Its shares soared 6% higher during regular trading yesterday after the company landed a $3 million military deal with the U.S. Navy that may actually be worth as much as $65 million.
The company is also rolling out a lower-priced Scooba at a $299 price point that is a hundred bucks cheaper than the original model that hit retailers like Target
As a Rule Breakers newsletter recommendation, the stock hasn't performed all that well since last year's anticipated IPO. This is actually the second quarter that finds iRobot coming in comfortably ahead of analyst profit targets, but investors seem to be waiting for profitability to expand the way it's supposed to next year.
Like robots, their punctuality can be unnerving, but it gives individual investors that much more time to analyze one of the coolest story stocks out there.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of iRobot, but he does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.