Remington Outdoor Company, one of America’s oldest gunmakers, has declared bankruptcy for the second time in about as many years with plans to sell its business.
The 204-year-old firearms conglomerate continued to struggle with weak sales after a 2018 restructuring that slimmed down its hefty debt load and handed ownership to some of its creditors, according to its late Monday Chapter 11 filings.
The Alabama-based company settled on selling itself as the best way to keep the business going, Remington CEO Ken D’Arcy said in a court filing. But it entered its latest bankruptcy without a leading bidder after sale talks with the Navajo Nation fell through, according to multiple reports.
Gun sales have reportedly spiked in the US amid the coronavirus pandemic and massive protests against police brutality and racism. But that surge couldn’t save Remington, whose total net sales fell to about $437.5 million last year from more than $865 million in 2016, according to D’Arcy’s filing.
Part of the company’s troubles reportedly stems from the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which the gunman used a rifle made by Remington’s Bushmaster brand. Remington saddled itself with debt in part to cover legal expenses as families of the shooting victims sued the company, according to The New York Times.
Eliphalet Remington II founded his namesake company in 1816 with the goal of building a better gun than what was available at the time. Remington went on to become one of the nation’s largest gun manufacturers — its weapons were used in both World Wars and are still popular with militaries, law enforcement and recreational shooters.
The private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management handed ownership of Remington to creditors including Franklin Templeton Investments and JPMorgan Asset Management in the company’s 2018 bankruptcy, which reportedly wiped away more than $775 million of its $950 million debt load.
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