Taser Posts $693,000 Profit

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Stun-gun manufacturer

Taser International

(TASR)

returned to profitability in the first quarter, as sales for its weapons rose compared with a year ago.

In the quarter, Taser earned $693,000, or 1 cent a share, compared with a year-ago loss of $39,000. Net sales rose 36% to $13.9 million.

Earnings fell a penny shy of the Thomson Financial consensus estimate of 2 cents a share. But net revenue came in slightly above the consensus forecast of $13.6 million.

In premarket trading, shares of Taser were trading higher, up 60 cents, or nearly 6%, to $11.

The past year has been a tumultuous one for Taser, whose controversial weapon has been the subject of numerous critical media stories. The company has been hit with a wave of lawsuits, charging that the purported nonlethal weapon has led to several deaths.

But the company says it believes it's turned a corner on the bad publicity front. In its earnings release, Taser said two of the lawsuits against the company were recently dismissed. To date, it said the courts have dismissed 12 wrongful death or injury suits.

Last December the

Securities and Exchange Commission

dropped an investigation into the company's accounting practices.

"Qualitatively, we believe many of the challenges of 2005 are behind us and we believe that we are beginning to re-establish momentum in the marketplace,'' said Rick Smith, CEO of Taser.

The company's gross margin rose 58% to $8.97 million. Gross margin is revenue less the cost of goods sold.