Federal Ammunition's parent company to pay $81.4 million for unit of bankrupt Remington - Minneapolis Star Tribune

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Vista Outdoor Inc. has agreed to buy the ammunition and accessories assets from the bankruptcy process of Remington Outdoor Company Inc.

Anoka-based Vista, which owns Federal Ammunition, is purchasing the assets for $81.4 million. The Remington unit generates about $200 million in annual sales.

The purchase includes Remington's ammunition manufacturing facility in Lonoke, Ark. It does not include Remington's firearms business.

"Remington ammunition and accessories have a storied role in America's sporting heritage, with a legacy dating back to 1816," said Chris Metz, Vista Outdoor's chief executive, in a news release.

Vista will pay cash for the unit and expects the deal to be accretive to earnings in fiscal 2022.

The Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of Alabama must approve the deal. There is a hearing on Tuesday. The deal also is subject to other customary closing conditions.

Vista reports its financial results in two segments: shooting sports, which includes ammunition and accessories, and outdoor products. In the first quarter, the shooting sports segment sales rose 8.2%, partly fueled by increased participation in outdoor ventures and a surge of first-time gun owners.

There are nearly 5 million new gun owners in the United States this year, with significant participation from people of color and women, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearm industry trade association. Some purchases were made for self-defense, the NSSF said, but a big percentage were from those interested in hunting or shooting sports. The NSSF said retailers are reporting a 139% increase in ammunition sales over the same period in 2019.

The growing interest in guns also can be seen in the increase in Minnesota background checks over last year. According to Mark Oliva of the NSSF, the state saw 34,829 background checks in August, up from 21,899 in the same month a year ago.

In Vista's first-quarter conference call, Metz said in the spring 2020 hunting season, license and hunting tag sales were up about 35%.

"Across the country, state fish and game agencies have seen a major surge in hunting and fishing activity," Metz said. "Lack of live sports, social distancing and field-to-table trends are additional drivers, getting people back into the woods."

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources the number of youth and adult spring turkey hunting licenses this year were up 145% from spring 2019. The department will report on total number of deer licenses sold this year in November.

The company said in the release it has adequate cash on hand and available liquidity for the winning bid for Remington's assets. Vista has been concentrating on reducing its long-term debt for the last several years. In the first quarter the company said improved cash flow allowed it to increase its debt paydown.

Rommel Dionisio, an analyst with Aegis Capital Corp., wrote in a research note to investors that the deal is a good strategic fit for Vista.

"Such an acquisition should help build even greater critical mass for Vista Outdoor's already market leading ammunition segment," Dionisio wrote.

Shares of Vista closed Monday at $19.20 per share, up 1.4%. Year-to-date shares are up more than 150%.

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