Sales of self-defense weapons are soaring across the US as fears over possible social unrest amid the coronavirus crisis is prompting some Americans to turn to security devices as a form of self-protection.
Byrna Technologies Inc (CSE:BYRN) (OTCMKTS:BYRN), formerly Security Devices International, has been deluged with orders for its less-than-lethal security devices. The Massachusetts-based company makes the popular Byrna HD, a handgun-like device that dispenses chemical irritants.
The small, lightweight 0.68 caliber device is equipped with a five-round magazine capable of accurately hitting a target at up to 60 feet without causing serious injury. Its chemical payload is designed to burn an assailant’s eyes and respiratory system.
"The biggest challenge we are currently facing is keeping up with rapidly growing demand. To ensure that we can satisfy the market, the company is accelerating its plans to open a second manufacturing facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana,” Byrna Technologies CEO Bryan Ganz told Proactive.
“We expect to have this facility on-line by late summer. We want to thank our loyal customers for their patience and continued support," he added.
Byrna HD hits bullseye
For its fiscal second quarter ended May 31, 2020, the company posted preliminary sales of around $1,180,000 driven by the popularity of the Byrna HD.
This rocketed Byrna's year-to-date sales to $1,329,000, a 1,000% jump, compared to sales of $117,000 for the same period in 2019.
According to the company, demand for the Byrna HD spiked over a period in which the number of coronavirus cases increased rapidly in many US states. It also takes into account the period of widespread anti-racism protests and civil unrest after George Floyd's death in late May.
Byrna said that over three days between May 30 and June 1, 2020, it received more than $160,000 in online orders, compared with sales of $924,000 for the full fiscal year ended November 30, 2019.
Hannity triggers a surge in orders
Against this backdrop, American talk show host Sean Hannity discussed non-lethal weapons and in the same breath mentioned the Byrna HD as a personal security “solution” during times of civil unrest.
As Hannity spoke, traffic to Byrna's eCommerce site exploded with more than 160,000 web searches between 9.00 pm and 12.00 am, compared to 105,000 web sessions for the entire month of May. Additionally, Byrna saw another 30,000 visitors to its site from midnight to dawn.
"We are grateful to Sean Hannity for highlighting the benefits of less-lethal options such as the Byrna, however, the company was not prepared for such an onslaught of orders," said Ganz.
On June 9 at 10.00 pm, Byrna modified its website, letting customers know that there would be a nearly eight-week waiting period to fulfill orders.
Still, the company was flooded with another 750 orders totaling over $375,000. As a result, the 24-hour total in new online orders for the Byrna HD, ammo and accessories ticked up to $2.45 million.
Key Roboro acquisition
Byrna recently acquired privately-owned South African manufacturer Roboro Industries Pty Ltd by paying Roboro shareholders around $500,000, subject to post-closing adjustments for net working capital.
Byrna said Roboro, which was acquired in May, will now only produce Byrna components and finished goods. It will not do any work for unrelated third parties.
Byrna is betting on the Roboro factory in Pretoria, South Africa giving it the production muscle to “keep pace” with the growing demand for the Byrna HD security device.
"The acquisition of Roboro gives us direct control of critical production resources substantially reducing a major risk to an interruption in supply resulting from factors beyond our control," pointed out Ganz.
"We also expect the acquisition of Roboro to help the company in its efforts to open a second manufacturing facility in the US. With the technical knowledge acquired through the Roboro acquisition, we expect to be able to bring the US production facility online much more quickly. Currently, we are targeting the fourth quarter of 2020 to be up and running in the US."
According to Byrna’s manufacturing blueprint, the facility in Pretoria will work to meet local South African demand, as well as international orders, while the new US facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana will be aimed at fulfilling growing US orders.
Eyeing a Nasdaq listing
Byrna is intent on listing on the tech-laden Nasdaq and has been sprucing up its balance sheet. The $3.2 million the company raised in the second quarter, coupled with the retirement of over $6.5 million in debt, steers it closer to its goal of up-listing to the Nasdaq.
Contact the author Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive