The chief executive officer of Vista Outdoor, the new owner of Remington Ammunition in Lonoke, said Friday that the company is continuing to invest in the state by opening a distribution center in Bryant for two of the company's other outdoor brands.
Chris Metz hosted Gov. Asa. Hutchinson and Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston at the Remington plant Friday.
In a statement, Metz said the Bryant distribution center will serve Vista Outdoor's QuietKat e-bike and Camp Chef backcountry and backyard cooking brands. He said the new operation will help the brands meet growing demand around the country.
A Vista Outdoor spokesman said Friday via email the Bryant facility is about 113,000 square feet and is on track to employ about two dozen workers by the end of the year with room to grow as the QuietKat and Camp Chef brands continue to expand. The company didn't disclose the cost of the center.
Remington's Lonoke facility employed a little more than 1,000 people as of late July and is still looking for hundreds more workers, according to Friday's statement. That's an increase of more than 200 workers since February and more than double last November's count of around 450.
Vista Outdoor formed in 2015 and is made up of 37 outdoor brands, including, bicycles, camping gear, golf and skiing equipment, optics and ammunition makers. It has 14 other manufacturing operations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It purchased Remington's ammunition operations and other assets from the company when Remington Outdoor Co. declared bankruptcy last year.
Remington began production at the Lonoke facility in 1969. The operation includes 750,000 square feet of manufacturing space on 1,200 acres.
In late July, Vista Outdoor reported that its fiscal first quarter saw net income of $102.7 million, or $1.71 per share compared with $40.4 million or 69 cents a share for the comparable period a year ago. Revenue was $662.9 million for the quarter, up 38% from $479.1 million for the year-ago period.
The company reported that sales in the shooting sports category were up 39% to $463 million, driven by 39% growth in ammunition sales, and 37% growth in hunting and shooting.
Vista Outdoor is expected to release its second quarter earnings report on Nov. 4.
Shares of Vista Outdoor closed at $43.78, up 7 cents or about 0.1% in trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares have traded as low as $18.70 and as high as $47.62 over the past year.