iRobot Automates Another Solid Quarter

iRobot Corporation just navigated another better-than-expected quarter, but investors aren't bowing to their new robot overlords just yet. Shares of iRobot fell 2% in after-hours trading today, after the company announced that revenue increased 6.4% year over year to $148.8 million. Meanwhile, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization climbed 9.9% over the same period to $17.8 million, and net income fell 14% to $7.3 million, or $0.24 per share.

For perspective, three months ago iRobot told investors to expect second-quarter revenue of $143 million to $146 million, adjusted EBITDA of $8 million to $10 million, and significantly lower earnings per share in the range of $0.02 to $0.06.Analysts, for their part, were anticipating earnings of only $0.06 per share on sales of $144.6 million.

Digging deeperDriving iRobot's results was a 24% year-over-year increase in U.S. sales of its higher-end Roomba 800 series vacuums. Home Robot revenue in China also skyrocketed 60% during the quarter. But given the comparatively small base from which iRobot's China market is growing, that was only enough to partially offset sequential weakness in the Japan and EMEA markets. To be fair, last quarter iRobot warned of this weakness, citingmacroeconomic headwinds that were expected to result in pricing pressure for distributors.

Meanwhile, Defense & Security revenue more than doubled year over year to $12 million, in line with iRobot's expectations. Roughly 70% of D&S revenue came from robot sales, most of it delivered under its multi-year contract awarded this past September with the Canadian Department of National Defence.

iRobot's Remote Presence segment also performed in line with expectations, which means its previous guidance for around $3 million in telepresence revenue this year should remain intact. For now, iRobot is working to streamline the installation process and build a solid group of early enterprise clients for the young category. Recall that last quarter, iRobot pointed out it had installed multiple Ava 500 robots at Fidelity investments' FCAT center in Boston. This quarter, it added another Boston-based company named Carbonite on a trial basis, where Ava 500 is autonomously navigating Carbonite's 55,000-square-foot headquarters to connect remote employees in both California and Germany.

New tech is on the wayFinally -- and perhaps most exciting for robotics enthusiasts and investors alike-- iRobot CEO Colin Angle stated: "[T]he long-anticipated navigating home robot will be launched in the second half as promised. I am not going to say anything more about the product, launch timing, or features, but we are very excited about it and sales of the robot are included in our expectations."

With that in mind, investors should know Angle has previously let slip more than he's indicating now. Following iRobot's fourth-quarter results this past February, for example, Angle described iRobot's efforts to advance both cloud-based maps combined with visual simultaneous localization and mapping (vSLAM) IP. He also told investors 2015 will feature "incorporation of next-generation navigation technology more broadly into our home products."

Rather than the seemingly random paths current iRobot products tend to utilize with physical bumpers and infrared sensors, that's why I suspect iRobot's next-generation home robots could be able to build, store, and access maps in the cloud, as well as use low-cost cameras and other sensors to more efficiently traverse obstacles in the home.

On guidanceAt the same time,it's mildly disappointing that sales of these mystery navigating robots are included in iRobot's guidance.

Speaking of which, if you're wondering why iRobot stock isn't skyrocketing given its solid quarterly beat, look no further than management's elaboration for the outperformance. Angle explained: "Although Q2 was above expectations, this was primarily due to timing. Predicting individual quarterly results is challenging, but our over-performance in Q2 alleviates some pressure on the second-half ramp."

As a result, iRobot is reiterating 2015 guidance for revenue of $625 million to $635 million, with earnings per share in the range of $1.25 to $1.35. Curiously, however, the mid-point of both ranges sits above analysts' expectations for 2015 revenue of $627.3 million, and earnings of $1.28 per share.

That said, part of the market's lack of enthusiasm could stem from iRobot's near-term expectations. In the current quarter, iRobot anticipates that revenue will remain roughly flat over last year at $143 million to $146 million. Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA in the current quarter will be between $17 million and $19 million, and earnings per share should arrive in the range of $0.20 to $0.24. By comparison, analysts were modeling much higher third-quarter earnings of $0.53 per share on revenue of $170.6 million.

That's not to say investors should be worried. Angle also stated that iRobot has an "unusually heavy Q4 shipment schedule," which should more than make up for its light third quarter. In the end, even though this strong quarter isn't what it seems, investors are left with a relative zero sum game and continued progress in iRobot's key technology and product roadmaps.

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Steve Symington owns shares of iRobot. The Motley Fool recommends iRobot. The Motley Fool owns shares of iRobot. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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