AOBC, formerly Smith & Wesson, launches new recreation division

The company's new logo. (Photo: AOBC)

The company’s new logo. (Photo: AOBC)

The company formerly known as Smith & Wesson opened a new division to focus on outdoor recreation goods, according to a statement issued to investors Wednesday.

American Outdoor Brands Corporation opened the new division to expand its presence in “the rugged outdoor recreation market” and brought an executive from competitor Vista Outdoor to head the department.

Brian Murphy, who worked for Vista for 18 months as a vice president in of corporate development, will head AOBC’s new division. As president he’ll focus on products like camping, hiking and fishing gear.

“His goal is to establish and build our new Outdoor Recreation Division — from the ground up — by bringing a new dimension to our inorganic growth strategy,” said James Debney, AOBC’s chief executive officer.

Following the announcement, the company’s price per share slipped slightly below $21, a price it’s been averaging since a sharp decline last year following the election. However, gun sales have been above average with national gun sales at an all-time high.

Dividing the company into multiple departments is part of AOBC’s overall strategy. Stockholders expressed approval of the plan last month as they overwhelmingly approved adopting a new name for the holding company. The company now maintains five departments, that also include firearms, manufacturing services division, electro-optics and accessories

Although firearms make up the lion’s share of the company’s sales, the company sees products like outdoor goods and shooting accessories as supplementing those sales. Firearms made up $195 million of second quarter earnings while accessories pulled in another $39 million. With operations in full swing, the company estimates closing out the fiscal year with a 29 percent increase in earnings, an increase of $200 million to put total annual revenue around $930 million.