Ruger reports strong 2011 gains

Sturm, Ruger & Co. blew through the recession like a speeding bullet. The Connecticut-based company with a major manufacturing presence in New Hampshire, reported that it sold $328.8 million in guns and castings in 2011 — more than twice the amount it sold five years ago — and made $40 million, four times as much as it earned in 2007.The banner year ended with a strong fourth quarter, with $93.4 million in sales and diluted earnings of 54 cents a share (and a quarterly dividend of 21.2 cents for shareholders of record as of March 9, payable on March 23.)That resulted in an annual earnings increase of 42 percent, driven by a 29 percent growth in sales.New products accounted for 30 percent of sales, and they were a big reason behind a $138 million backlog as of Feb. 1. Last year the comparable figure was $59 million.Sales have especially been strong in handguns, the company said, accounting for $150 million in sales last year. That’s $42 million more than in 2010, and $63 million more in 2009.The company also credits gearing up production so that it will be able to ship out more guns during periods of heavy demand.Sturm Ruger has managed this explosive growth without adding many employees. It had 1,230 full time employees, not more than 100 more than it did five years ago when it had half as many assets. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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