Posts Tagged Manroy

Manroy to move from Beckley, East Sussex to Slade Green

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.

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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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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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Manroy wins contract

Manroy, the East Sussex machine gun and ammunition manufacturer has won a contract to supply the UK MOD. Manroy will be given £1.6 million to supply parts for the .50 calibre heavy machine guns that it has sold to the MOD.

Manroy has stated that production will begin as soon as production capability permits, before the end of 2011. This suggests the purchase of new equipment, hiring, or plant expansion may be in the offing.

Manroy sells its machine guns to the UK MOD, as well as several other countries including in the Middle East.

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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. 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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Manroy of East Sussex Wins Ammunition Contract

Manroy PLC has obtained a 4.1 million contract to supply blank ammunition to the UK MOD. This is an extension of an existing contract and will take the supply relationship to 2016. Apparently the blanks are used in the Heavy Machine Guns already supplied by Manroy to the MOD.


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Were British Machine Guns Used in Saudi Intervention in Bahrain?

In a controversial move, Saudi Arabia recently sent troops to aid the beleaguered Bahraini dictatorship, and quelled the nascent democratic protest movement.

Saudi Arabia is heavily armed by the US and many other countries, all eager to sell weapons to the Saudi autocrats whose national coffers are swelled with oil money. The UK sells arms to Saudi Arabia, including machine guns. Manroy Engineering of East Sussex has apparently sold heavy machine guns to Saudi Arabia in the past.

Here is a video of Saudi Forces crossing into Bahrain. Several Saudi vehicles are carrying mounted machine guns, at least two different types.  More video.

Are UK made machine guns or other weapons being used to repress protestors?

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Small Arms Big Cause of Death in Conflict

With British machine gun maker Manroy poised to expand its operations, and the UK eager to step up exports, Britain will be expanding its role in the misery caused by small arms in conflicts around the world.

One of the biggest problems with small arms is the ‘leakage’ of weapons to a variety of actors from dictatorships and authoritarian regimes, to insurgent groups and criminal gangs. Many small arms are sold to security forces and used to repress their own populations. Small arms are easy to store and don’t quickly become obsolete, so they are often recycled from conflict to conflict.

Some small arms manufacturers actively pursue illegal markets, and in other cases arms sold to ‘legitimate’ customers are redirected to particularly unsavoury markets. Governments are often eager to increase export sales, and drop ethical considerations. The  UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation  has put the following countries on its export priority list: Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, India, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the USA. (Source) Included in these countries are many authoritarian dicatorships, unstable conflict-riven countries, and western countries with a history of intervention in foreign lands. Note that the list was created before we fell out with the authoritarian Quadhafy regime in Libya. The UK government was willing to supply arms to an unstable dictatorship that only a few month later we are at war with.

Small arms are often a high cause of death in conflicts, much greater than public perception. News reports tend to focus on large scale violence and bombings, not the slow dribble of violence that goes on day after day killing large numbers of people unspectacularly and often out of sight. Small arms including machine guns are a significant source of accidental deaths.

A good source of information on small arms proliferation is the Small Arms Survey. Here is their report on Heavy Machine Guns.

The Federation of American Scientists has prepared a good article on the global threat of small arms.

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Manroy Buys Sabre, the Beleaguered US Arms Company

Manroy’s US subsidiary, Manroy USA, has won the auction to purchase bankrupt US arms manufacturer Sabre Defence Industries.

Manroy USA bought Sabre for $4.95 million, beating out rival Colt. Firearms Blog reported a previous relationship between Sabre Industries and Manroy, because the the owner of Sabre, Guy Savage, had previously purchased Ramos Defense from the current owner of Manroy.

Sabre was in dire difficulties because its British owner CEO Guy Savage and four of his executives were under indictmen:

by a federal grand Jury in Nashville on 21 counts of illegal international arms trafficking, conspiracy, making false statements, smuggling, wire fraud and mail fraud.(source) (new source)(new source #2)

Manroy plans to reopen the plant and rehire the staff, though it had misgivings about rehiring the executives under indictment.

Bankuptcy News blog reports Manroy executive Steve Sarles as saying:

“The executives are in question right now because of the federal charges. We need to have our lawyers look at that. That’s an ugly situation.”

Brandon Gee, writing in the Tennessan provided an in depth summary of the case against Sabre exectives, in the US District Court, in Tennessee. Subsequently four of the executives pleaded guilty in plea bargains.

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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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