The Keefe Report: An Update on Remington

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posted on October 23, 2020
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Since our last report on the Remington saga (read here), there’s been some successes and some confusing occurrences with the breakup of what used to be Remington Outdoor Corp.

So far, the big winners appear to be the employees formerly making ammunition under the Remington brand name in Lonoke, Ark. You see, Vista Outdoor was the big bidder and the big winner, taking that ammunition plant and most of Remington’s trademarks off the auction block. Vista is a well-run company, and CEO Chris Metz and President, Ammunition Jason Vanderbrink, to name just two of their top managers, know what they’re doing.

Vista has already sent senior managers to put the Arkansas plant back to work. Reportedly, the employees there were delighted to have been snapped up by another ammunition company, one that speaks their language and understands their challenges.

Even with demand at unprecedented levels, the workers in Arkansas couldn’t deliver at maximum capacity—aside from the uncertainty of their future before the sale. That’s because they couldn’t get raw materials. Now that Vista and the adults in charge there can provide competent management and a deep checkbook, look for ammunition to be rolling out of that plant more efficiently than ever before.

The next big winners are those who love Marlin firearms. Ruger has been sending staff and trucks (lots of trucks) to collect the assets of Marlin and is making a solid plan to get these great lever-actions back into production. I’m also told Clarus Corporation's (parent company of Sierra) acquisition of Barnes has gone well with little disruption.

Then we get to Roundhill, LLC, the winning bidders of non-Marlin Remington firearms. I had previously reported that the ownership included industry veteran Jeff Edwards, but that is no longer the case. Edwards told me that they “couldn’t agree on the structure,” and he is out.

The Roundhill group is now forging ahead without him. Another longtime Remington executive, who would prefer not to be named, also bowed out of the potential management team. Edwards, who no longer has any financial stake in the gunmaker formerly known as Remington, told me that he “wishes them the best of luck.“

In short, it appears that Richmond Italia, best known for G.I. Sportz paintball, will be the managing partner. Previous Remington CEO Ken D’Arcy will be staying on as well.

Italia has plans for the Ilion, N.Y., facility. “Upper management for Remington—and I don’t want to use the word hunters—but they’re not going to be suit and ties,” Italia told Chase Campbell in a WUTR-TV report on the cnyhomepage.com. “They’re going to be guys that get their hands dirty, guys that are going to walk the floor and talk to the employees.”

“You have this super-modern facility with untrained staff [in Alabama] and then you go up to New York and you have the opposite, where you have incredible staff in an antiquated facility,” Italia continued in the report.

Italia wants to bring employees back in New York and get up and running again as soon as possible—obviously without Marlin. The fate of the former facilities in Sturgis, S.D.—formerly the home of Dakota Arms and the Remington Custom Shop—Lenoir City, Tenn., and Huntsville, Ala., are unknown, although the city of Huntsville reported having a $12.5 million lien on the facility there.

Time will tell what will become of what used to be known as Remington Arms, but we shall report developments as they become known.

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