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Gun Industry Financial Update

The few publicly traded gun companies had a mixed first quarter of 2024

While the overwhelming majority of the gun makers and sellers that make up the firearms industry are privately held, a handful are publicly traded, providing deeper insights into their size, business practices, and financial health. Here’s a look at their quarterly financials.

SMITH & WESSON

On March 7, Smith & Wesson announced better-than-expected net sales of $137.5 million for the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2024, an increase of 6.5 percent over the comparable quarter last year. The company also reported that it expects to complete the move of its headquarters from Massachusetts to Maryville, Tennessee, in April. The total cost of the move is estimated at $170 million. Smith & Wesson spent $10 million on the move this quarter alone.

RUGER

On February 21, Ruger announced that its net sales for 2023 were $544 million, down from $596 million in 2022 — a decline of over $50 million. The company’s stock reached a 52-week low during midday trading shortly after the company announced weaker-than-expected earnings. The company also announced reduced profitability in 2023 from 2022 as its gross margin decreased from 30 to 25 percent.

Ruger stated that its performance has been impacted by a decline in demand for firearms and working capital trends, resulting in a decrease in earnings and cash flow. 

Over the last few years, publicly traded gun manufacturers Smith & Wesson and Ruger have been in a post-pandemic sales slump, which has often been reflected in their stock prices, revenues, and profits. As one data point, the revenues for these companies from March 2021 to March 2024 dropped by 17.5 and 1.5 percent, respectively. Over the same period, Smith & Wesson’s stock prices fell 7 percent and Ruger’s dropped 30 percent, as compared to the S&P 500, which has risen nearly 30 percent during this timeframe.

AMMO INC.

On February 8, Ammo Inc., the parent company of online marketplace GunBroker, announced a slight rebound from a poor prior quarter, but it continues to report a net loss. The last two quarters, ending in December 2023 and August 2023, the company also reported net losses of $7.5 million and $1.1 million, respectively. Additionally, its quarterly revenue was $36 million, down 7 percent year-over-year.

The company also continues to battle GunBroker founder Steve Urvan in Delaware Chancery Court. On February 27, the judge denied each side’s motions to dismiss — setting the stage for a protracted discovery fight.

OLIN CORPORATION

The Olin Corporation manufactures Winchester-brand ammunition and a variety of chemical products. (Olin also licenses the “Winchester” name to the Herstal Group, which owns gun makers FN Herstal and Browning, to manufacture Winchester-branded firearms.)

Olin released its annual report on February 22, which reflects a $92 million decline in ammunition sales from 2022 to 2023. Further, according to financial analysts, over the past year, there have been concerns about management’s credibility, and Olin stocks have underperformed, losing about 20 percent of their value from February 2023 to 2024.

VISTA OUTDOOR

On February 1, Vista Outdoor announced that its ammunition sales were down 9 percent, at $365 million, as well as a decrease in profit of 17 percent to $118 million. The company stated that these decreases were driven by lower shipments across nearly all ammunition categories as channel inventory normalized and prices lowered.

On March 4, the company rejected an unsolicited acquisition offer from Texas-based MNC Capital, as the company edges closer to the previously announced sale of its ammunition business to the Czechoslovak Group (CSG).