Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. reported sales rose 9.2% in the fourth quarter to $63.9 million from $58.5 million. Earnings climbed to $1.44 a share from 43 cents a year ago.

The company also announced today that its Board of Directors declared a dividend of 6c per share for the fourth quarter, for shareholders of record as of March 12, 2010, payable on March 26, 2010.

Chief Executive Officer Michael O. Fifer made the following comments related to 2009:

Our firearms sales grew from $174 million in 2008 to $267 million in 2009 on the strength of new product shipments and overall robust firearms demand, particularly in the first half of the year.

Estimated sell-through of our products from independent distributors to retail in 2009 increased by approximately 40% from 2008, and 86% from 2007. This annual growth substantially exceeds the 10% and 25% growth in National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background checks over the same periods. Comparisons of NICS checks from period to period are often used as a proxy for consumer demand for firearms.

In response to the significant increase in demand in 2009, the Company increased production in 2009 by 56% from 2008, and 101% from 2007. This increased production was facilitated by the Company’s implementation of lean manufacturing, an ongoing process that started in 2006.

Cash generated from operations during 2009 was $46.7 million. At December 31, 2009, our cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $55.7 million. Our pre-LIFO working capital of $104.0 million, less the LIFO reserve of $38.7 million, resulted in working capital of $65.3 million and a current ratio of 3.0 to 1. The Company has no debt.

In 2009, capital expenditures totaled $13.8 million. We expect to invest approximately $10 to $15 million for capital expenditures during 2010.

In 2009, we paid dividends totaling $5.8 million to our shareholders.

At December 31, 2009, $4.7 million remained authorized for share repurchases. On February 5, 2010, we announced that our Board of Directors expanded this repurchase program from $4.7 million to $10 million.

Sturm, Ruger is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of high-quality firearms for the commercial sporting market. Sturm, Ruger is headquartered in Southport, CT, with manufacturing facilities located in Newport, NH and Prescott, AZ.