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IRobot  Says 'Solid' Demand Drives Profit, Revenue, Outlook Beats

IRobot shares advanced after the producer of robotic consumer products reported  fourth-quarter profit and revenue beat Wall Street's estimates.
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Shares of iRobot  (IRBT)  scooted higher after the producer of robotic consumer products reported that while fourth-quarter net income per share fell 34%, its quarterly profit and revenue -- and its outlook for 2021 -- were stronger than Wall Street analysts had expected.

The Bedford, Mass., producer of the Roomba floor vac earned 46 cents a share in the quarter, down 34% from 70 cents in the year-earlier quarter. The latest adjusted earnings were 84 cents a share.

Revenue reached $544.8 million from $426.8 million.

A survey of analysts by FactSet produced consensus estimates of GAAP net income of 10 cents a share, or an adjusted 31 cents, on revenue of $492.2 million.

At last check iRobot shares were trading up 4.1% at $132.40. That's four times the stock's 52-week low near $33, set in mid-March.

Two weeks ago the stock touched a 52-week high $197.40. Reports say participants on the subreddit WallStreetBets were responsible for driving the stock up in a short squeeze. This is an effort to force investors who'd bet that iRobot's stock price would drop to either take losses or abandon their positions. 

Demand for the company's products in the fourth quarter was "solid," Chairman and Chief Executive Colin Angle said in a statement. "Maintaining a clean home has taken on increasing importance while the pandemic forces people to stay at home,” he said. 

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[“Our] efforts to differentiate our floor cleaning robots with innovative features and functionality that support the fluid lifestyles of their owners are resonating in the marketplace.” 

For all of 2021, iRobot expects to earn $1.85 to $2.10 a share, or an adjusted $3 to $3.25, on revenue of $1.64 billion to $1.68 billion.

The FactSet analyst survey for 2021 is looking for GAAP earnings of $1.31 a share, or an adjusted $2.34, on revenue of $1.48 billion.

"Our outlook for 2021 reflects our confidence that the growth drivers for our business will remain largely intact over the coming quarters," Angle said.

Late in January iRobot said that it filed a patent-infringement claim against SharkNinja Operating LLC at the International Trade Commission.

The lawsuit asked the agency to bar a number of SharkNinja robotic cleaning products from the U.S. IRobot alleged that the items infringe its patents.

SharkNinja is the Needham, Mass., designer of home appliances marketed under the Shark and Ninja brands. It's a portfolio company of CDH, the Beijing private equity firm.