Sussex machine gun maker up for sale

The owners of Sussex based arms company Manroy Engineering have apparently put the company up for sale. Manroy Engineering is the Beckley, East Sussex manufacturer of heavy machine guns and other military equipment. Manley was formerly a small engineering company that made heavy .50 calibre  machine guns for the UK military. But a few years ago the company was purchased by new owners who had plans for expansion. This coincided with the policy of the new Conservative government that wanted to increase arms sales and was willing to expand its export permit system to authoritarian countries previously embargoed. This policy ran full tilt into the Arab Spring and the British public became aware that many of the intended new markets for UK arms were indeed repressive dictators. The plan to sell arms to dictators was scaled back. No doubt this revised policy also affected the growth plans of the new owners of Manroy.

Manroy was directly affected when it was revealed that Manroy and elements of the UK government had been trying to sell sniper rifles to the Qaddafi government at the time just before the dictator was deposed by his own people with the help of other elements of the UK government.

Press reports suggest that Manroy is considering takeover proposals from two companies, (US Ordnance having dropped out).  Market reports suggest that the 14 million pound company hasn’t been very profitable, with losses most years since it was taken public.

Baretta is one of the named suitors. The Italian company is a major producer of small arms.

FN Herstal is the other. (Watch their bloodless machine gun video here)  Herstal is Europe’s largest exporter of military arms, and owner of such American firearms brands as Winchester and Browning. Herstal already makes a heavy machine gun similar to the one made by Manroy. FN Herstal is 100% owned by the Walloon region of the Belgian government.

It isn’t clear whether a purchaser would keep the manufacturing facilities at Beckley, or whether they would be only interested in the machinery or intellectual property of the company. None of this information appears to be in the public record.

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