Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. Just Shot Out the Lights

Image source: Smith & Wesson Holding Corp.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. just released surprisingly strong fiscal fourth-quarter 2016 results Thursday after the market close, and investors are rightly pleased.

Shares the firearms manufacturer were up 8% as of 12:00 p.m. EDT Friday after the company announced quarterly net sales grew 22.2% year over year, to $221.1 million, including 22.4% growth from Smith & Wesson's firearms division, to $203.7 million, and a 19.8% increase in accessories sales, to $17.5 million. Based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), that translated to net income of $35.6 million, or $0.63 per diluted share, up from GAAP net income of $21.9 million, or $0.40 per share in the same year-ago period.

On an adjusted (non-GAAP) basis, which notably excludes items like acquisition expenses, net income climbed 50% year over year, to $37.4 million, and rose 46.7% on a per-share basis, to $0.66.Smith & Wesson completed its acquisition of firearms accessories and supply company Battenfeld Technologies in Dec. 2014.

For perspective, Smith & Wesson's guidance provided in March called for adjusted net income per share in the range of $0.51 to $0.53 and revenue of $210 million to $215 million.To be fair, Wall Street was expecting Smith & Wesson to beat its guidance, but analysts' consensus estimates only predicted adjusted earnings of $0.54 per share on revenue of $214.6 million.

As Smith & Wesson CEO James Debney explained:

Smith & Wesson CFO Jeff Buchanan added that gross margin remained strong during the quarter, driven by "robust volumes" within firearms and helped by healthy margins from accessories products. All told, Smith & Wesson generated a new company-record 168.6 million in operating cash flow in fiscal 2016. It also ended the year with total debt of $175.3 million and cash of $191.3 million, leaving it with zero net debt, and -- given its unused $175 million revolving line of credit -- an eye for opportunities to invest in sustaining this growth, whether driven organically or through acquisitions.

In contrast to some analysts' words of caution just prior to the report, Smith & Wesson's outlook was just as encouraging. For the current quarter, Smith & Wesson anticipates revenue in the range of $190 million to $200 million, up 32% from last year's fiscal first quarter and well above analysts' expectations for quarterly revenue of $161.6 million. On the bottom line, Smith & Wesson says that should result in adjusted earnings per diluted share of $0.49 to $0.53, up 59.4% at the midpoint from $0.32 per share in the same year-ago period and again significantly above the $0.37 per share investors were expecting.

Finally, for the full fiscal year ended April 30, 2017, Smith & Wesson expects revenue of $740 million to $760 million and adjusted net income per share in the range of $1.83 to $1.93. Analysts, on average, were modeling fiscal 2017 revenue of $732.3 million and adjusted earnings of $1.68 per share.

"Looking ahead to fiscal 2017," Debney concluded, "we expect that a strong balance sheet, combined with our track record of successful acquisitions, positions us well for an expanding role in the market for products for shooting, hunting, and rugged outdoor enthusiasts."

In the end, this was a cut-and-dried case of Smith & Wesson handily beating expectations and issuing solid guidance to boot. With shares still trading at just 12.4 times this year's expected earnings even after today's pop, I think Smith & Wesson stock has plenty of room to run from here.

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