Robots: Doing Your Dirty Work


Nearly five years after rolling onto the market, the Roomba vacuum cleaner has undergone a ground-up redesign according to maker iRobot (IRBT). And with its debut on Wednesday, the company said Roomba is now better equipped to handle the rigors of daily cleaning. This new and improved robotic vacuum might suck in more.. but will it also suck in larger profits?

iRobot (IRBT) Chief Executive Colin Angle joins the guys for this conversation. Here are excerpts from what was said.

First, talk about the pick-up in demand you’ve experienced from your military contracts.

“The challenges we’re seeing overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan are very severe, says Angle. “Roadside bombs are the number one killer of our servicemen. What a great thing (it is) to be able to send robots over there to do some of the dirty and dangerous work for our soldiers.”

What’s the uptake from the military?

“This is a new technology that’s proving itself out in every robot we send over there,” explains Angle. “And people are coming up with new uses for (robots), so we’re seeing dramatic growth in demand.”

How does your consumer division compare with the military division?

“There’s tremendous technology in both divisions,” says Angle. “We’ve sold over 2 million robot vacuum cleaners and they’re used with great success all over the world. The military division is comparably sized and they’re both rapidly growing. Both are major contributors to earnings."

What percentage of your business is government?

“In 2006 it was 60% consumer and 40% military,” says Angle The military over the past few years has been growing at a more rapid rate than consumer, but with the launch of the new Roomba we’re looking to give the military side a run for it’s money.

What’s the pool Roomba?

“There are a number of different places around the home that need cleaning with pools being one of them. So we produced a robot that will move around the pool and suck up the leaves and debris,” explains Angle. “It’s all about making everyday life easier and allowing you to clean your home daily…”

Dylan Ratigan asks the guys what they think of this stock?

Jeff Macke says he’s impressed with the technology.

Guy Adami likes the stock.

Both Pete Najarian and Stacey Briere Gilbert like the company’s military exposure.


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Trader disclosure: On Aug 22 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money; Najarian Owns (BMY), Najarian Owns S&P Puts: Stacey Briere Gilbert Is Chief Options Strategist For Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP: Gilbert Is Head Of Market Intelligence Research For Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP: Gilbert Does Not Cover Individual Securities But Does Recommend Trading Strategies; Gilbert Has A Long Position In (HOT); Susquehanna Financial Group Is A Market Maker In (AMTD), (AAPL), (BCSI), (ETFC), (FWLT), (GYMB), (IRBT), (JBLU), (NTES), (NTAP), (UAUA), (WYNN) (ZUMZ), (CTSH) Susquehanna Financial Group And/Or Affiliates Together Own More Than 1% Of (BCSI), (BSC), (CAL), (LCC), (NMX), (NYX), (NTES), (UAUA), (IMB), (GT); Susquehanna Financial Group And/Or Affiliates Together Owned More Than 1% Of (FCX) On 8/20/07