Archive for category Manroy
Unconfirmed news is that Manroy Engineering is closing its facility in Beckley, East Sussex, and moving those operations to its other facility at Slade Green. There will be redundancies at the Beckley facility. Slade Green is a ‘leafy green suburb’ on the extreme eastern margin of London.
Manroy was purchased by the Belgian arms company Herstal last month. Started as a small operation supplying heavy machine guns to the UK military, Manroy was bought out a few years ago by venture capitalists who planned to expand the company with sales abroad. But their aggressive sales plans were thwarted by declining arms budgets and the Arab Spring, which thwarted the plans of Britain’s new Conservative government to expand arms sales to a range of authoritarian regimes.
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.
British gun maker Manroy has announced a new expansion costing £750,000 to enable it to make rifles to fill an order from an unnamed ‘existing customer’. According to the Scotsman, almost half of this expansion would be funded from an existing shareholder, Caledonian Holdings, in the form of a loan. The loan would be paid back by year end from the sale of weapons. Apparently the expansion and manufacture will take place at a facility at Slade Green, Kent, rather than the Manroy facility at Beckley, East Sussex.
The company does not publicly identify its customers, (other than UK MOD) and British law appears to permit it to maintain secrecy, even though the sale of weapons has serious public policy implications for Britain. Manroy attempted to sell military hardware to the Qadaffi regime in Libya, until the Arab Spring caused the UK government to withdraw support from the Libyan dictator, who was subsequently deposed and assassinated.
Manroy states that it only sells weapons to countries approved by the UK government, but its growth strategy was hurt by the Arab Spring, which caused the UK government to shorten the list of Middle Eastern and African countries to which it would approve arms exports.
The owners of Manroy have been seeking a buyer for the company. It appears that only talks with Belgian company Herstal remain active.
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.
Manroy is an arms company with a manufacturing plant in Beckley, East Sussex, and a head office in Essex.
Manroy has added two companies that enable it to expand its range of weapons. One is Kent based RJL Engineering Services and the other is Base Enamellers, of Erith, Kent. Base Enamellers claims to have approvals for most major defence contractors, so is already an arms company. 50% of its income previously was from Manroy. Manager of the new Base (Manroy) enterprise will be Damon Batstone, once a manager at Thales, in Crawley.
The purpose is claimed to be to bring manufacturing of components in house for Manroy, and to reduce costs. It is also a move toward expanding its product range into ‘general purpose’ machine guns.
Manroy has begun a programme of expansion in recent years. Manroy recently attempted to sell arms to Libya’s Colonel Qaddafi. At least one Manroy principal defended the attempt to sell weapons to the late Libyan dictator, claiming that Libya was at the time a favoured regime with the UK government.
Manroy is engaging ‘revenue professionals‘ to promote its business in North and South America, Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Far East, however their Annual Report for 2012 does not specify who these ‘revenue professionals’ might be.
Manroy Engineering is claiming to have a record number of orders ‘in the pipeline’ or under negotiation in December.
The East Sussex based maker of machine guns and other weapons saw its projected business fall when the UK government cut back the number of autocratic regimes it was willing to green light for export permits, following the ‘Arab Spring’ . The government was embarrassed when it was learned that UK arms companies like General Dynamics and Manroy Engineering were negotiating with the Gaddafi regime prior to the Libyan revolution, with the encouragement of the UK government. Government officials promoting arms sales to the Libyan dictator included diplomatic staff, and top military brass.
50 British arms manufacturers had attended the Libdex arms fair, held at the Tripoli airport in late 2010. While fair was promoted as a ‘safety and security’ trade fair, a large part of the exhibition was for weaponry.
Recently the government has shown signs of relaxing its prohibition on sales of weapons to certain authoritarian regimes, which bodes well for the arms companies.
UK manufacturer of machine guns Manroy Engineering suffered financial losses last year, and stock prices have declined by more than 30% since last August. Manroy blamed startup and relocation costs of its US arm for part of the loss.
Beckley, East Sussex based Manroy started an ambitious plan to expand the range of countries it sold its machine guns to, but may have been thwarted when the UK suddenly reduced the number of countries it was willing to grant export licenses for.
It was also reported that Manroy was in the midst of negotiations with officials of Libyan dictator Mohamar Gadaffi, when the UK suddenly launched a war against Gadaffi. Up to then the UK government had been actively promoting arms sales to Libya. Afraid to be accused of gross hypocrisy, Britain`s government quickly cancelled export permission for several authoritarian countries, including Libya.
Manroy also blamed past losses and failure to meet expectations on a major export order from an existing customer, that has yet to be confirmed. Nor has the ‘existing customer’ been identified.
Manroy’s key product is the .50 calibre heavy machine gun, which it has provided to the UK MOD for many years. Manroy’s advertising is very heavy with technology and steel, but very short on photos of the blood, gore, and carnage created by use of these weapons. (I searched online for photos of .50 calibre bullet wounds, but the results were so alarming I decided not to link to them. Use your imagination, if you have the stomach).
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