Lonoke-based ammo firm’s sale said to be on track

Photo contributed by Larry Case / Shotshells are among the products generated by the Remington Ammunition plant in Lonoke, Ark. The plant is situated on 1,200 acres and is currently running 24/7 to produce ammo and keep up with the demand after a shortage in recent years.
Photo contributed by Larry Case / Shotshells are among the products generated by the Remington Ammunition plant in Lonoke, Ark. The plant is situated on 1,200 acres and is currently running 24/7 to produce ammo and keep up with the demand after a shortage in recent years.


Vista Outdoor Inc., the parent company of Lonoke-based Remington Ammunition, said Thursday that plans to sell its ammunition business to a Czech company are on track with shareholders getting a chance to vote on the deal in March or April.

Last month, Prague, Czech Republic-based Czechoslovak Group, know as CSG, said it would acquire Vista Outdoor's Sporting Products business in a cash deal valued at $1.91 billion. When the deal closes sometime in 2024, Vista's Sporting Products division will become a wholly owned subsidiary of CSG and its U.S. headquarters will remain in Anoka, Minn.

The sale requires a shareholder vote and still must be green-lit by regulators.

Vista Outdoor employs about 4,000 workers across its ammunition brands which include CCI, Federal, HEVI-Shot, Remington and Speer. Remington Ammunition employs a little more than 1,000 workers in Arkansas at last count.

Vista Outdoor executives discussed the pending sale during the company's second quarter earnings call Thursday morning. It reported net income was down 52% to $44.4 million compared with last year with revenue at $677 million, down 13%.

Gary McArthur, interim chief executive officer of Vista Outdoor, in response to questions from the media, said despite the offer on the table from CSG there was still room for another suitor to bid for Vista Outdoor's Sporting Products division.

"It's always possible," he said.

Minnesota-based Vista Outdoor formed in 2015 and now is made up of 41 outdoor brands, including bicycles, camping gear, golf and skiing equipment, optics and ammunition makers. It purchased Remington Ammunition out of bankruptcy in late 2020.

In May of 2022, Vista Outdoor said it would spin off its sporting product segment, which includes its ammunition brands like Remington, and its outdoor product segment into two publicly traded companies.

In April, Vista Outdoor promoted Jason Vanderbrink to CEO of the ammunition spin off. He had overseen the company's ammunition lines as the company's senior vice president of sales before his promotion. He has been with Vista Outdoor since 2005. CSG said in a release he will continue to lead the U.S. operations.

"This transaction perfectly fits with our strategy of expanding the key pillars of our business," Michal Strnad, owner and CEO of CSG, said in a statement when the sale was announced. "I am proud that our company and the Czech defense industry managed to realize the most significant Czech investment in the U.S. market to date, which will deepen the strategic industrial relations between the two countries. We look forward to working with Jason and the Sporting Products leadership team to expand on their company's success and their legacy of U.S. manufacturing."

According to Forbes, Strnad's real time net worth sits at $2 billion. Forbes notes CSG is the fourth largest ammunition maker in the European Union and also produces specialized military trucks and vehicles, active radars and other items.

CSG operates in five strategic business segments in the civil and defense sectors -- defense, aerospace, ammunition, mobility and business projects. It employs more than 10,000 workers around the globe.

Vista Outdoor shares closed at $25.90, up 40 cents or a little more than 1% in trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares have traded as low as $22.97 and as high as $33.78 over the past year.


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