Christopher Twomey picked a good day to announce his retirement as CEO of recreational vehicle manufacturer Arctic Cat.

The Plymouth-based company posted better-than-expected sales and earnings for its second quarter on Thursday, boosted its forecast for the full year and saw its stock climb more than 12 percent.

Twomey, who has led the company for 24 years, will stay on as chairman after he steps down as CEO at the end of the year. He'll be succeeded by Claude Jordan, 54, who joined Arctic Cat in 2008 as president and who has overseen its all-terrain vehicle business.

Twomey, 62, led Arctic's entry into the ATV business, now its largest, in 1995. The ATV segment posted the largest year-over-year sales gain -- 9 percent -- for the second quarter ended Sept. 30. Snowmobile sales rose 7 percent, driven mostly by increased demand in international markets. Sales of parts, garments and accessories fell 4 percent, primarily because of timing of shipments in the quarter, the company said.

Sales rose 6 percent to $175.8 million. Earnings were $17.8 million, or 97 cents a share, compared with $14.8 million, or 81 cents a share, for the same period a year earlier. Analysts had estimated 90 cents a share in earnings and $167.7 million in revenue.

Arctic Cat now estimates sales of $453 million to $463 million and earnings per share of 40 to 50 cents. The company's previous guidance forecast sales of $447 million to $460 million and earnings per share of 18 to 33 cents.

The stock traded as high as $14.48 a share before closing at $13.94 a share.

Susan Feyder • 612-673-1723