Archive for category Sussex

Machine Gun Maker Manroy Sales Down Due to Arab Spring

Various sources are reporting that Manroy Engineering sales are down due to events relating to the Arab Spring. Manroy is believed to have been trying to sell arms to the Qaddafi regime in Libya, and these were curtailed by the British supported revolution there.

MINAFN.COM reports that Manroy relies on the UK MOD bringing clients to its weapons site in East Sussex for demonstrations. Apparently budgetary considerations and the Arab Spring have curtailed this activity, and consequently Manroy sales have been suffering. Manroy sales could be as much as 15% lower this year.

It isn’t certain what weapons site the MOD invites prospective machine gun and weapons clients to, but perhaps this is actually the  MOD firing range at Lydd, Kent. Perhaps the reason Manroy relocated to nearby Beckley is the proximity of the range. UK MOD appears to be a very active promoter of weapons sales by Manley if these reports are accurate.

If Manroy had planned to sell weapons to certain countries, and these sales fell through due to British policy changes following from the Arab Spring, can it be presumed that some of these potential sales were to countries whose authoritarian governments fell to democratic movements?

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East Sussex Machine Gun Maker Profits Up

Manroy Plc, the UK’s largest maker of heavy machine guns, has increased profits substantially over last year. Share prices are up. Manroy has gone from having a loss of £33,000 in the six month ending March 2010, to a profit of £1.14 million in the same period this year.

Manroy does not publicise the destination of its sales but is known to sell machine guns to the regime in Saudi Arabia. It is the largest supplier of machine guns to the UK, and is believed to have a close association to the UK Ministry of Defence.

CEO Glyn Bottomley claims that Manroy ‘does not accept orders from any embargoed country’, and only sells to countries on the UK’s list of acceptable recipients. (What he does not mention however is that until recently the Ghadaffi regime  in Libya was on the UK’s list of priority customers. Bottomley has previously stated that Manroy has not sold machine guns to Libya. Is it possible that the shifting relationship between the UK and Libya has deprived Manroy of a market that it intended to enter?)

Manroy claims that certain events, (probably meaning the ‘Arab spring’ ) have delayed orders, but that these orders will likely be placed in 2012. Manroy also claims that it is well placed to expand its sales to the US military.

In its notes to the consolidated financial statement, Manroy PLC list the UK as the source of 82% of its sales in the last six months, (ending March 31, 2011) 16% to European customers, and 2% to North American customers.

Manroy claims to sell machine guns to several different countries. Other than the UK, US, and Saudi Arabia, it is not clear who are the other recipients of the Manroy exports. Because Manroy does not generally disclose its actual or intended customers, it isn’t clear who are the actual recipients of Manroy machine guns. But we can presume that the possible recipients will be any country not embargoed by the UK.

A 2006 article in the Guardian lists some of the countries on the UK priority list for arms exports, including Iraq, Libya, Colombia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Kazakhstan.

Rt.com reports that the UK has okayed arms sale to 15 Middle East and North African regimes since January 2009, including sales to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Algeria, and Syria. UK suppliers sold the Ghadaffi regime of Libya £100 million worth of arms since January, 2009. While a number of these countries are now embargoed, it is likely that several others will be on the potential list of customers for expanded Manroy arms sales in the future.

Manroy recently received a £4.1 million contract to supply UK MOD with blank ammunition.

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If Manroy Didn’t Sell Machine Guns to Libya, Who DID They Sell Them To?

Reuters reports British machine gun maker Manroy Engineering has denied that Libya is the customer for £1.3 million in spare parts that Manroy announced recently to buoy its stock offering on the AIM stock exchange. Manroy has recently sold £6 million worth of M2 heavy machine guns to an unnamed ‘Middle Eastern country’.

While Manroy denies that that country is Libya, it declines to disclose the actual customer, only stating that it does not sell weapons to regimes in the region who are ’embargoed’ by the UK government. From its report of its 2011 Annual General Meeting:

The Board notes the press report on 17 March 2011 concerning the recent turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. The Board states categorically that the Company has never undertaken any arms sales to Libya or to other embargoed countries in the region. Manroy prides itself as having been a key supplier to the UK MoD for 25 years. Manroy adheres strictly to UK legislation concerning the sale of armaments and weapons to foreign countries and governments. Additionally, where the Company sells any of its products overseas, such sales are undertaken in strict adherence to UK Government export regulations and approvals and are only undertaken after all appropriate UK Government licences have been granted.

Which begs the question ‘Who did they sell them to?’

Certainly Israel is a potential customer, as Israel was in the market for a ‘lighter’ machine gun in 2009, as reported on Israel Military Net blog.

What public interest is served by keeping Manroy’s sales secret?

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British Machine Gun Manufacturer Expanding

An important British arms manufacturer, Manroy Engineering Ltd.  has relocated its production facilities from Sandhurst, Berkshire to Beckley, East Sussex, near the town of Rye. The company’s major product is the M2 heavy machine gun, a 50 calibre machine gun. Its main customer seems to be the UK Ministry of Defence.

Manroy started out in 1975 as a ‘mom and pop machine gun factory’ owned by Roy and Madeleine Swainbank.

Manroy appears to be the only UK producer of heavy machine guns. Manroys Company Information Disclosure‘ reveals that UK MOD “works closely with Manroy, holding bi-annual strategy meetings in which it has actively encouraged Manroy to provide a broader offering of logistical support and services to the MOD.”

The UK MOD has been buying the M2 for many years, and uses it throughout its operations. Recently Manroy has made a major sale to a ‘middle eastern country’, which appears to be Saudi Arabia. (Manroy has made sales to Saudi Arabia before, however the secrecy involved in this sale suggests the possibility of a more ‘sensitive’ destination for these weapons).

Manroy also reveals that it has had sales to ‘approximately’ 30 countries, as approved by the UK government. The new management at Manroy claims that it has doubled production, and will pursue a strategy of growing exports in North and South America, North Africa, and the far east by ‘harnessing relationships of local representatives’ (an ominious statement that could mean many things).

Manroy states that it plans to bid for contracts to produce pistols and assault rifles for the MOD.

Manroy also produces the 7.62mm ‘General Purpose Machine Gun’, and various ‘accessories’. Photos and data about Manroy’s full product line can be found here.

According to Dow-Jones (as published in Automated Trader), Manroy Systems Ltd. has recently been purchased by Hurlingham PLC and floated on the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) stock market, under the name of Manroy PLC. In 2009 Manroy had a pretax profit of £1.2 million on revenues of £11.7 million.

The company plans to expand its production to include small arms, rifles, and pistols.

Manroy has been in a dispute with the UK MOD. In 2008 it was reported that the British army was running out of machine guns because of the dispute. This was particularly embarrassing for the army because UK pleas for replacements from the Americans were snubbed (the reasons aren’t clear).

The Sun article suggested that the original contract for spare parts was inadequate, and usage of the guns was higher than predicted.

This Telegraph report seemed to suggest that the dispute seemed to revolve around the demand that the UK MOD receive its parts in priority to Manroy’s sale to Saudi Arabia.

The M2 ‘Browning’ machine gun comes in many formats. It isn’t clear what format Manroy produces for the UK, but it is associated with the L111A1, (M2HB), suggesting it may supply a variety for formats to UK MOD. This Wikipedia article describes the Browning machine gun and its history.

The Manroy products appear to be used where ever UK land forces are deployed, including the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. UK MOD Defence News reports that “the ’50 Cal’ can knock holes through the thick compound walls found across Afghanistan with ease.” The machine guns are typically mounted on a vehicle, but can be hand carried. They have an effective range of up to 2,000 metres.

In early 2010 Manroy received orders from the MOD for About £11 million worth of parts and weapons systems, spread over three years.

16 February,2011 the UK MOD appears to have given Manroy a small contract (2011/S 10-014649) without competetive bid (because the service could not be provided without access to Manroy’s proprietary information). The contract was for £75,000.

The largest shareholder (18.1%) of Manroy Plc, as of 2010 was Caledonian Heritable Limited, which appears to be a venture capital company mostly involved in restaurants and the entertainment industry. Glyn Bottomly, the Manroy CEO, holds 16%, and Cazenove Capital Management Limited (an investment fund) holds 7.9%.

CEO Glyn Bottomley was most recently the Managing Director of AEI Systems, another larger British arms company with a base in Ascot, Berkshire, and remains so in 2011. (The former article includes a photo).

Manroy has exhibited at the 2010 ‘Eurosatory’ arms fair in France, and at the 2009 DSEI arms fair in London.

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