Belgian arms company Herstal takes over Sussex machine gun maker

Manroy, the British arms company with a manufacturing facility in Beckley, East Sussex has agreed to be purchased by the Belgian arms company Herstal. Manroy’s main products are heavy machine guns and turrets.

Originally a small company selling heavy machine guns to the UK military, a few years ago Manroy was taken over by aggressive  new owners who planned large expansion and took the company public. They also purchased a troubled American arms company.

Recently Manroy’s plans had fallen on hard times as arms budgets dropped, but especially as a result of Arab Spring. Before Arab Spring the UK Conservative government had pushed to expand British arms sales to countries previously forbidden, including several repressive regimes. Manroy was attempting to sell arms to Libya’s Gaddafi (with the full support of the UK government) when British policy towards Gaddafi sudden shifted. Quickly following, the government was forced to abandon plans to expand arms sales to many of the repressive regimes it had previously targeted.

Manroy’s ambitious expansion plans were never realised, and the company was eventually put up for sale, culminating in the acquisition by Herstal this week. Conditions of the sale included shearing the American branch from the British company.

It isn’t clear whether the huge Belgian arms company will maintain a presence in the sleep Sussex village of Beckley.

 

 

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