Taser's Profit Down on Shrinking Stun Gun Sales

Taser International Inc. (TASR) on Tuesday posted a sharp drop in first-quarter earnings as the controversy over the safety of its stun guns cut into sales for the period.

The company's quarterly income shrank to $168,000 in the January-March period from $3.6 million in the year-ago period. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser did not provide its earnings on a per-share basis. Year-ago per-share earnings were 12 cents.

Revenue for the period totaled $10.2 million, down 22 percent from $13.1 million the year before. Earlier this month, Taser warned that quarterly sales would miss Wall Street expectations, citing the negative publicity generated by claims that its stun guns (search) are involved in a growing list of accidental fatalities.

Taser's results compare with the average estimate for a profit of 2 cents per share on $10.1 million in sales from analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

"As we noted in our first-quarter earnings estimate on April 1, we experienced a significant disruption in the flow of new business in the first quarter," Rick Smith, Taser's chief executive, said in a statement. "However, we did see positive operating cash flow, despite the lower sales levels."

Taser said it also found an error related to future tax benefits in its financial statements for the year ended Dec. 31, and plans to amend its results to correct the mistake.