Winchester Bullet Sales to Gain as U.S. Elections Near

Olin Corp., the maker of Winchester bullets for rifles and handguns, expects ammunition demand will continue to increase ahead of the U.S. presidential elections in November.

First-quarter commercial sales in the Winchester division rose about 13 percent on higher volumes and prices, Clayton, Missouri-based Olin said today in a statement. Commercial demand should keep climbing at least through October, Olin Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph D. Rupp said.

“There’s been a pickup which may be related to the election and also is related to just an undercurrent of interest in personal defense that just continues to be there,” he said on Olin’s first-quarter earnings conference call.

Winchester’s sale are rising ahead of the Nov. 6 election because of “fear” that President Barack Obama will win a second term and restrict ammunition sales, said Don Carson, a New York-based analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group.

“Obama is reportedly referred to as ‘salesman of the year’ in the firearms and ammunition industry as gun-rights supporters stock up on supplies ahead of a possible more restrictive environment,” Carson, who recommends holding Olin shares, said today in a report.

Olin plans to raise ammunition prices by as much as 6 percent on June 1, Rupp said.

First-quarter profit excluding a restructuring charge was 50 cents a share, beating the 42-cent average of eight analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Winchester ammunition accounted for 29 percent of sales in the quarter, with chlorine and caustic soda making up the remainder.

Olin fell 1.9 percent to $21.59 at the close in New York.

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