Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beltway Bet: iRobot

Since an initial public offering three years ago, iRobot's stock price has steadily dropped. The Burlington, Mass., company, whose machines can vacuum your floor or help soldiers sniff out roadside bombs, went public at $24. Recent price: $9.

By certain metrics, the stock looks tempting. Its latest 12-month price-to-earnings ratio is a modest 15, while the company's enterprise value, market capitalization plus net debt, stands at just 0.6 times its 12-month revenue of $316 million. The latter multiple is in line with a big defense contractor like Lockheed Martin and well below that of a comparable niche technology company like AeroVironment, whose enterprise-value-to-sales multiple is 2.5.

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