The roller-coaster ride that is IPIX
Is the Street really so short on memory?
Readers of these pages might recall Rick Munarriz's snarky but sage assessment of IPIX's last big feeding frenzy, spawned when Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge chummed the waters with a brief acknowledgement in a public speech. Back then, Rick pointed out the firm's big first-quarter losses on minute revenues.
In July, IPIX released second-quarter earnings that showcased the firm's continuing talent for losing money, to the tune of $0.21 per share. To add insult to injury, the company tried to spin the results by matching them against the Q1, rather than the prior-year quarter comparisons that are standard in financial reporting. Management has said comparisons to previous quarters "are not useful" because they "reflect revenue from the Company's commercial agreement with eBay
How's that for an excuse? We lost our biggest customer, so it's not fair to compare. You think a company like Black & Decker
OK, back to this Russian deal. As you might expect from a company engaged in such earnings-release chicanery, it's long on hype and short on numbers. There are plenty of platitudes about the need for 360-degree security cameras all over Russia. Wondering how much this big deal will bring into the company? No comment.
To judge by a Russian phone directory listing I was able to dig up, the IPIX products will line Soling's shelves next to systems from Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Watec, Robot, Sanyo, Yamano, and Vicros. So how will IPIX compete? Again, no answers. (If I'm missing something important here, let me know, and I'll email it to IPIX so they can tell everyone.)
If you're thinking of buying now, treat IPIX with all the enthusiasm you'd have for a live hand grenade. In addition to slim revenues and big losses, during the last six months, insiders have sold nearly 8.5 million shares. President and CEO Donald Strickland has sold 330,000 shares at prices as low as $7.50, and he now owns a measly 6,700 stubs. Foolish investors ought to follow his lead and stay out of the stock. With 41% of the float already sold short, it's not even worth the effort to bet against this beast.
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