Taser Hits Lowered Targets

The news comes two weeks after the stock slid after an earnings warning.
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Taser

(TASR)

posted sharp declines in first-quarter earnings and warned that it had found a mistake in its fourth-quarter financials.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., stun-gun maker earned $168,000, or 2 cents a share, on revenue of $10.2 million for the quarter ended March 31. That's down from the year-ago earnings of 6 cents a share on revenue of $13 million, though the latest-period figures are in line with Wall Street's reduced estimates.

Taser, which has come under increasing fire in recent months over the safety of its weapons as well as its accounting practices, slashed first-quarter estimates on April 1, citing a "temporary disruption in our sales pipeline" and a "significant disruption in the flow of new business in the first quarter." The company blamed bad press for the problems.

On Tuesday, the company also said it had found an error in its 2004 financials relating to its "calculation of the future tax benefit to be received from employees' sale of stock received from the exercise of stock options, and other tax effects of stock option exercises." Taser said fixing the problem would result in an undetermined "increase in deferred tax assets, accrued expenses and additional paid-in capital, and will not have a significant effect on results of operations or cash flows."

Taser is currently the subject of an informal

Securities and Exchange Commission

inquiry that is focusing on both the safety of its weapons and an order from a distributor that closed shortly before the end of the fourth quarter.

In early February, Taser reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell shy of analysts' expectations. At the time, Taser said 2005 will be "challenging and exciting."

The heavily shorted stock has seen many highs and lows in its volatile life -- it traded for a split-adjusted 34 cents at the start of 2003 and as much as $33.45 in the past 12 months.

Taser closed at $7.97 Monday.