CZG To Acquire Colt: Delving Into The Impact


Feb. 11, CZ Group (CZG) announced it had signed an agreement to acquire Colt Holding Co., the parent company of Colt’s Mfg. Co. and Colt Canada Corp., for $220 million — financed by CZG’s existing cash resources and proceeds from the issuance of 1,098,620 shares of new CZG common stock.

Once approved, Colt will join CZ-USA, Dan Wesson, Brno Rifles and 4M Systems as CZG-owned subsidiaries. (CZG is headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic.) Leadership from both companies were complimentary of the impending acquisition.

“This merger is a strategic step for both companies,” said Lubomír Kovaík, CZG president and chairman. “The acquisition of Colt, an iconic brand and a benchmark for the military, law enforcement and commercial markets globally, fits perfectly in our strategy to become the leader in the firearms manufacturing industry and a key partner for the armed forces.”

“We’re very pleased with the prospect of such a strategic combination,” added Dennis Veilleux, Colt president and CEO. “Having completed a historic turnaround of the operations and financial performance at Colt over the past five years, this important next step with CZG positions the company to take advantage of significant growth opportunities.”

The combined CZG-Colt group is expected to generate revenue in excess of $500 million, creating a “real small arms powerhouse,” according to Kovaík. Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close Q2 2021.

Impact On Colt

Paul Spitale, Colt SVP of commercial business, sat down with Shooting Industry and shared how this acquisition solidifies Colt’s recovery since exiting bankruptcy in Jan. 2016 — with “opportunity” being a key word used throughout the discussion.

“Over the past four or five years, we’ve talked pretty extensively about the progress we’ve made in operations, financial improvements and product development, use of our marketing and compliance — all of that has put us in a position and an opportunity to strengthen our long-term outlook,” Spitale shared.
An immediate benefit for Colt, once the transaction is confirmed, is it will be relieved of significant debt.

“Colt, for the first time in probably decades, will be debt-free. It’s a huge shot in the arm for this organization,” Spitale noted.

Once regulatory approval is confirmed, will Colt firearms still be produced in the U.S, and will the company stay in its West Hartford, Conn., facility?

“It’s a pretty swift answer, yes,” Spitale replied emphatically. “One of the things that excites CZG is we’re under- capacitized — we can do more within our 300,000 sq. ft. facility here in West Hartford.”

Under CZG, Colt also stands to benefit from enhanced R&D resources.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in new product development — such as reintroducing revolvers — with a very small design team and engineering staff. The ability to tap into CZG’s impressive R&D and engineering capabilities will really strengthen both companies pretty significantly,” Spitale noted.

With more resources at its disposal, Colt will be able to pursue government contracts “more aggressively” than in recent history, according to Spitale.

“this important next step with CZG positions the company to take advantage of significant growth opportunities.”

Dennis Veilleux, President & ceo Colt’s Manufacturing Company

“There’s a lot of green space internationally, as well as the U.S. government business — we’re better positioned to challenge for open contracts,” he said.

Colt’s commercial business remains an integral focus, especially with around 5,300 Colt Stocking Dealers today. (Spitale shared the company is aiming to eclipse the 6,000 mark by year’s end.)

“This purchase is another opportunity for us to support our consumers and retail outlets,” he said. “We believe in the independent specialist — that’s where our wheelhouse is. They’re the ones who really understand what’s the difference and what makes a Colt. I like the fact we’re well positioned in those spaces.”

After several years of “hyper focus” on repositioning the Colt brand, Spitale sees CZG’s investment spurring further advancements.

“For consumers, I think many of them wanted Colt to do more — to have a bigger array of products and develop more new products. We think, in many ways, CZG is the perfect catalyst to drive our growth and expansion,” he concluded.

Colt stands to benefit from an immediate injection of CZG’s R&D resources. Its products will
continue to be manufactured at its West Hartford, Conn., facility by the same team of engineers.

Outlook For CZ Group

In a press conference, CZG Vice Chairman Jan Drahota said this acquisition furthers CZG’s ambition to establish a greater presence in both the civilian and military/law enforcement markets.

“We believe there is potential in both customer groups — but they’re each different, driven by different means, different purchase and decision-making processes. With the acquisition of Colt we’re getting much closer to a 50-50 split between the two markets,” he said.

Drahota shared CZG is taking a long-term view with this acquisition.

“The success of the company [CZG] is based on long-term investments into people, machinery and products — this is a long-term project,” he added. “We believe the two groups together can be even stronger.”

CZG’s acquisition strategy looks set to continue, according to Drahota.

“There is still room for acquisitions — and most of the time they would be connected to the field we are in: small arms,” he said. “We’re not hurrying to do another transaction just for the sake of it. Obviously, things can happen faster if there are unique opportunities in the market.”

A ripple effect of this acquisition also impacts CZ-USA: April 2019, CZG announced plans to locate its North American headquarters and develop a manufacturing facility in the Port of Little Rock, Ark. This $90 million project has now been “postponed” for three to five years, Drahota informed.

“At this stage, it makes sense to concentrate our resources, people and energy on optimizing the strong production base in Connecticut and Canada,” he stated.

In short, CZG’s purchase of Colt stands to benefit both companies: CZG is establishing a greater foothold in North America, while also accelerating the potential for increased military contracts, and Colt will receive an injection of financial support to develop new products and compete for U.S. government and international business.
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High Speed Gear Moves To New Facility

High Speed Gear (HSG) recently leased a new facility in Windsor, N.C., and hosted a job fair mid-February to help facilitate the initial production staffing plan.

“Bertie County is excited to welcome High Speed Gear to Windsor,” said Steve Biggs, Bertie County economic development director. “High Speed Gear has proven to be a great corporate neighbor in Swansboro, N.C., providing good jobs with great benefits. After working with them over the past few months on their expansion, I can only say great things about HSG. They have followed through on every promise made. High Speed Gear’s reputation for customer service, and their commitment to their employees is the type of company all developers seek for their communities. We look forward to our citizens being able to start a new career with High Speed Gear.”
The new building includes 15,000 sq. ft. of production space with the opportunity for additional growth.

Federal Ammunition Awarded FBI Contract

Federal Ammunition announced a contract award from the FBI for its 5.56mm NATO service and training, reduced-lead ammunition. The multiple-award, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contract is for an ordering period totaling five years, with product delivery beginning this month.

“Federal continues to be honored that the most trusted law enforcement agencies, both domestically and internationally, continue to believe in and value the products we make,” said Jason Vanderbrink, Federal Ammunition president. “It’s a solid validation of the technology and performance found in every round of ammunition made by our highly skilled American workforce.”

The service round selected by the FBI utilizes Federal’s tactical bonded technology. Made exclusively for law enforcement, Tactical Bonded ammunition achieves the reliability, terminal performance and accuracy paramount to the survival of special agents and others in the face of violent confrontation.

“This is a very prestigious award, and substantiates Federal’s reputation as the manufacturer of the market’s most advanced rifle ammunition,” said David Leis, Federal’s VP of law enforcement, government and international sales. “The training round selected is designed with one of the most accurate bullets on the market. The cartridge is configured to replicate duty performance, so agents’ training experiences are authentic to their duty expectations.” /

Vista Outdoor Makes Forbes Best Employers List

Vista Outdoor Inc. has been named one of America’s best midsize employers on the Forbes 2021 list of America’s Best Employers.

Each year, Forbes partners with a leading provider of rankings and large-scale polling to determine the top employers in the country. Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers was formed from an independent survey of 38,000 Americans working for companies with at least 1,000 employees in U.S. locations.

The process includes anonymous employee polls and reviews of other publicly available material and workplace metrics.

This year Forbes took special note of the midsize companies that have risen to the occasion in the wake of the global pandemic, adapting in ways that benefit both their customers and employees.

“A cornerstone to our success is the ability to retain and hire the best people in the industry. Vista Outdoor offers a fast-paced, employee-focused environment that pushes each person to learn and grow. Additionally, we encourage employees to get outside and live our company mission of ‘Bringing the World Outside’ in their personal lives,” said Brad Crandell, chief human resources officer at Vista Outdoor.

Vista Outdoor offers benefit programs to meet the diverse needs of its over 5,000 employees. These benefits strongly promote employee health and wellness, career development and work/life balance. Vista Outdoor, its brands and employees also promote a culture of community and impact in all facets of operations.

“Strong communities and a more inclusive outdoor industry are crucial to our mission, and we continue to search for and evaluate ways to be a great, inclusive place to work, as well as a leader in our communities and the industry,” Crandell added. /

SIG SAUER Completes NGSW Delivery To U.S. Army

SIG SAUER Inc. announced the final delivery of the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) systems to the U.S. Army.

The new system consists of SIG’s revolutionary 6.8×51 hybrid ammunition, the NGSW-AR lightweight belt-fed machine gun, the NGSW-R rifle and suppressors.

“This historic moment is the culmination of an incredible collaboration between the U.S. Army and SIG. We commend Army leadership for having the vision to undertake this monumental procurement process, and for remaining vigilant in their mission to bring a modern, transformational weapon system to the battlefield,” said Ron Cohen, president and CEO of SIG SAUER.

Each component of the SIG SAUER NGSW system offers significant advancements in battlefield weapons performance, beginning with the 6.8×51 hybrid ammunition, a lightweight cartridge designed to handle higher pressures, resulting in increased velocity and terminal performance.

The SIG SAUER Lightweight Belt-Fed Machine Gun (NGSW-AR) doubles the effective range and is 40% lighter than the current M249. While maintaining the preferred belt-fed operation, the NGSW-AR has reduced felt recoil to increase accuracy.

The SIG SAUER Rifle (NGSW-R) is built on the foundation of the battle-tested MCX platform, with the added firepower of the 6.8×51 round.

Both the NGSW-AR and NGSW-R feature familiar, AR-style ambidextrous ergonomics designed for a seamless transition from the legacy weapons to the new NGSW system.

The final component of the system is SIG SAUER Next Generation suppressors for reduced sound signature.

“Each component has been exhaustively tested with the others to ensure peak operational performance and endurance for the rigors of the battlefield. We have a proven and successful track record of delivering multi-branch, service-wide, successful weapons programs to the U.S. Army, and we stand ready,” Cohen said.

The design and engineering advancements made throughout the development of the SIG NGSW system will usher in the launch of multiple commercially available products in the coming months. Those products include SAAMI-approved SIG FURY hybrid ammunition that utilizes the NGSW cartridge design for various calibers, the MCX-SPEAR semi-automatic rifle and the SIG Next Generation suppressors.

GSM Completes TRUGLO Acquisition

GSM Outdoors, a multi-brand manufacturer and technology innovator of hunting and shooting products, announces their most recent acquisition of TRUGLO.

Founded by competitive archer and hunter Paul LoRocco in 1993, TRUGLO invented the first multicolor fiber optic archery pin sight. Built on the slogan “When Brightness Counts,” TRUGLO has developed products for the archery, crossbow and firearms segments.

“The LoRocco family has done a tremendous job pioneering the way in fiber optic and tritium sights, while building a diverse product base for their customers in both the firearms and archery industries,” stated Eddie Castro, GSM CEO. “It is an honor to continue the legacy they’ve built by adding such an iconic brand as TRUGLO to our portfolio of premium outdoor products.”

Assembled in the USA, TRUGLO also manufactures the only patented, fully encapsulated tritium sight on the firearm market. Glowing bright both day and night, TFX sights feature a compact snag-free design, longer sight radius and durable construction.

“We have a resurgence of avid outdoorsman and firearm owners spending additional time in the field or on the range and an unprecedented amount of new firearm owners entering the market,” said Ben Smith, GSM SVP of sales and marketing. “TRUGLO’s broad line of premium products really complements what GSM already has to offer, allowing us to continue to strengthen our relationships with our retailers, while allowing the customer a better shopping experience.”
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Sellmark Corp. Acquires BulletSafe

Sellmark Corp. announced its acquisition of BulletSafe, provider of state-of-the-art body armor to both the civilian and law enforcement markets.
Since 2013, BulletSafe has manufactured high-end, affordable plate carriers, shields, face/neck protectors, gas masks and more, all with the kind of fit, function and reliability consumers have come to expect from Sellmark brands.

The BulletSafe Bulletproof Vest offers level IIIA protection, the protection level in highest demand by consumers. Level IIIA is rated to protect wearers from handgun bullets up to .44 Magnum, and BulletSafe achieves this rating without heavy armor plating. The vest is lightweight, comfortable and secure, with armor pockets in the front and rear to accommodate armor-plate upgrades.

“I started BulletSafe to save lives, and I sold it to Sellmark because they have the resources to make BulletSafe a premier body-armor brand, saving even more lives,” said BulletSafe Founder Tom Nardone.

Nardone credits as many as eight saved lives to BulletSafe products so far.

“This is a product line that transcends the purpose of our other brands of enhancing outdoor experiences. BulletSafe is about saving lives — equipping people to make it home to their families. I can’t think of a better way to make a difference. To say we’re excited about adding BulletSafe to our family of brands is an understatement,” said James Sellers, Sellmark founder and president.

Sellmark continues to grow its market share in 50+ countries, in addition to every state across the U.S. Sellmark brands to date also include Sightmark, Pulsar, Firefield and Kopfjäger. / /

Mission first tactical Rapid Strike

Mission First Tactical Awarded Contract With Mexican National Guard

Mission First Tactical LLC, provider of USA-made rifle/carbine accessories and holsters, announced its award of a contract to supply the Mexican National Guard with its Rapid Strike Personal Protection Spray.

Manufactured with the same formula used by the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force in a Department of Defense-approved facility, Rapid Strike received top marks in a blind test conducted by U.S. military forces.

Rapid Strike has three delivery methods to provide maximum effectiveness and stopping power — stream, gel and fog.

The stream is a focused pattern that travels the longest distance, while having good wind resistance and minimal cross-contamination. The gel is also a focused pattern with long-distance delivery, and has the least chance of cross-contamination. The fog creates a wide pattern that deploys over a mid-distance, and has the fastest disbursement. While wind will affect it, and it will cross-contaminate indoors, it is the easiest to aim.

Rapid Strike Personal Protection Spray allows users to identify their attackers with an ultraviolet dye, visible only under black light. It has been tested with independent, high-performance liquid chromatography to ensure consistent performance.

Mission First Tactical Rapid Strike Personal Protection Spray is available in two stocked formulas: OC Pepper/UV Dye or CS Tear Gas and OC Pepper/UV Dye, and comes in black or pink containers. Any formula can be created for contracts. Rapid Strike has a five-year shelf life. /

Shoot Like A Girl’s mobile shooting range will be making 20 stops during its “Home of the Brave” tour.

Shoot Like A Girl Debuts New Look

Shoot Like A Girl has introduced a new look on the Shoot Like A Girl mobile shooting range tractor-trailer for the 2021 “Home of the Brave” tour. The new wrap displays the list of sponsors on a TrueTimber Strata camouflage backdrop with Shoot Like A Girl’s pink accents.

The Shoot Like A Girl trailer will make 20 stops across the country over the course of the tour, giving women nationwide the opportunity to learn and practice shooting on its state-of-the-art mobile range. The “Home of the Brave” tour began Feb. 6 in Fort Myers, Fla., and will end late-October in Katy, Texas, after making stops in eight other states.

“We’re thrilled to reveal the new truck wrap, and we’re really excited to see this truck hit so many destinations in 2021. We want to say a special thank you to TrueTimber, JR Motorsports and Bass Pro Shops for helping us secure this amazing truck. We can’t wait to get it on the road to kick off our Home of the Brave tour,” said Karen Butler, founder and president of Shoot Like A Girl.

The Shoot Like A Girl mobile shooting range gives women ages 16 and older the opportunity to gain experience in handling and shooting handguns, longs guns and compound bows using advanced technology. Inside the mobile range, women are guided through a revolutionary introduction process called Test Shots and Test Flights by certified NRA instructors and archery coaches.

At the Shoot Like A Girl mobile range’s onsite gun counter, people can compare a variety of firearms, including revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, shotguns and rifles, from the organization’s firearms partners. Both new and experienced shooters are welcome to attend. /

IHEA-USA Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The International Hunter Education Association-USA (IHEA-USA) is marking its 50th year in 2021.

The association has always worked closely with state fish and wildlife leaders, as well as hunter educators, to deliver a complete, well-produced curriculum that teaches all new hunters in the U.S. safe hunting practices.

Over 41 million students have graduated from hunter education programs since the first one was mandated in the state of New York in 1949.

“We’re grateful to those original hunter safety coordinators, who had the foresight to form a cohesive governing body that would connect educators and their programs across all 50 states. We’re moving into the next 50 years with charged excitement about the new programs and services the IHEA-USA is going to bring to the states, furthering firearms safety,” said IHEA-USA’s Executive Director Alex Baer. /

ASP Honors MP-SEC France For 2020 Success

Armament Systems and Procedures (ASP) has named Terräng MP-SEC France as the company’s Premier Partner for 2020. The award recognizes MP-SEC’s planning, effort, execution and dramatic results in marketing and supporting the ASP brand and products.

ASP’s European Sales Director Marc De Leener presented the award to MP-SEC France CEO Jess Plaiter during its international sales meeting, held Jan. 4.
“We pride ourselves on the quality of our business relationships, especially when it comes to our dedicated distributors,” said ASP CEO Kevin Parsons, “so choosing just one for this honor each year is a real challenge.”

Parsons explained MP-SEC France had a year of significant growth, including some major ASP equipment deployments: “Among many other things, in 2020 our partners equipped the French military with thousands of our Red Gun training weapons, and outfitted the French prison system with our latest Talon Infinity Batons. Those major successes — added to the day-in, day-out work they do to market and distribute ASP in France and around Europe — made MP-SEC stand out in this year’s Premier Partner selection process.” / /

New Partnerships

RSR Group added Aero Precision, Ed Brown Products, Christensen Arms and Gear Head Works to its offerings.

Primary Arms Government is now a full distributor of ASP Inc. products.

Chattanooga Shooting Supplies introduced Rich-N-Tone waterfowl calls and reed kits to its inventory, along with Military Products accessories (TAC Shield; SPORT RIDGE brands).

Davidson’s has partnered with Hoppe’s to offer its line of firearms cleaning and care products.

Bangers expanded its ammunition category assortment with the addition of Liberty Ammunition, and is now carrying Elite Tactical Systems magazines and speedloaders and SABRE Security Equipment less-lethal products.

J.P. Sauer & Sohn announced a special edition of the Sauer 100 Ceratech bolt-action rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 PRC chamberings is now available in KUIU Vias camo pattern with stainless action exclusively through Big Rock Sports. In addition, Blaser Group has partnered with Bangers to distribute Sauer 100 bolt-action rifles.

Sales Representation
Following the retirement of longtime Feradyne Outdoors International Sales Manager Lennie Rezmer, Outdoor Marketing International (OMI) will serve as Feradyne’s international field representative. OMI’s territory coverage will include the entire globe, with the exception of North and South America.

Pyramex Safety announced new sales partnerships with Outdoor Marketing Group and Jeff Robles & Associates to support the company’s growing retail business. Outdoor Marketing Group will represent Pyramex in MS, AL, GA, FA, SC, NC, VA, WV, KY and TN. Jeff Robles & Associates will be responsible for servicing AK, HI, WA, OR, CA, AZ, NV, UT, ID, MT, WY, CO, NE, NM, TX, OK, LA and AR.

Outtech Inc. was selected by Barnes Bullets as its exclusive sales representation partner for the company’s full line of ammunition across multiple channels nationwide. Outtech also announced a partnership with PSE for sales representation of the company’s full line of bows and archery accessories across the U.S.

Blue August will assist Cobalt Kinetics in public and media relations through brand awareness, event promotion and industry presence.

Sentry Products Group has chosen Laura Burgess Marketing (LBM) to assist in its public and media relations efforts. Additionally, uniform and equipment distributor Galls LLC, and ballistics specialist company Diamond Age, have also signed LBM.

Summit Outdoors and Shadow Hunter Blinds have renewed a branding and marketing partnership with RubLine Marketing.

DURAMAG, Blackfire and AXIL each selected Chevalier Advertising as its official agency of record. Chevalier will lead ongoing PR campaigns by coordinating media samples, writing and distributing press releases and providing future product development and advertising services.

Christensen Arms and Brenton USA have partnered with Harris Global Marketing & Communications for public relations and media needs.

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