After buying Colt, Czech firearms manufacturer delays Arkansas move and rules out ‘dramatically increasing’ West Hartford workforce

The original article in the Hartford Courant can be seen here:

https://www.courant.com/business/hc-biz-colt-czech-owner-20210215-fl7ivzju5zajhkgcy7rpb7zs6e-story.html

By STEPHEN SINGER HARTFORD COURANT FEB 15, 2021 AT 12:49 PM

Colt Armory. Colt Holding Co. has been purchased by a Czech firearms manufacturer. Photo by Brad Horrigan | bhorrigan@courant.com
Colt Armory. Colt Holding Co. has been purchased by a Czech firearms manufacturer. Photo by Brad Horrigan | bhorrigan@courant.com (Brad Horrigan/The Hartford Courant)

A Czech firearms manufacturer buying Colt Holding Co. is delaying plans for a new production site in Arkansas as it focuses on Connecticut, but will not soon increase the West Hartford workforce of 300, a top executive said Monday.

Jan Drahota, vice-chairman of the board of CZG–Česká zbrojovka Group, said at a news conference the company had been looking for another production base in the U.S. and settled on a site in Little Rock, Arkansas.

With the purchase of Colt for $220 million in cash and more than 1 million shares of the Czech company, valued at $20.3 million as of Monday, CZG will instead focus on Colt’s West Hartford site and Colt Canada Corp., the company’s Ontario subsidiary.

CZG is putting off the Little Rock project for three to five years, depending on market conditions.

“Colt is a big undertaking,” he said. “We decided to postpone construction in Little Rock to dedicate our resources in Connecticut and Canada.”

CZG has ruled out “dramatically increasing” the workforce, saying it’s too early to talk about hiring, Drahota said.

The deal is expected to close by June 30. CZG will evaluate the potential to increase Colt’s production capacity, using the supply chain and investments in machinery.

Lubomir Kovařík, chairman of the board of CZG, said Colt is an “iconic brand and benchmark” for the military, commercial and law enforcement markets.

“This acquisition fits perfectly in our strategy to become the leader in our industry,” he said.

The combined group would have revenue of more than $540 million and CZG is looking to generate revenue of $1.2 billion by 2025. The acquisition of Colt is “definitely an important step on the way,” Drahota said.

Colt, which manufactures guns for the military, police and civilian customers, has designed and made firearms in Connecticut since 1847.

CZG is acquiring significant production capacity in the United States and Canada and is looking to substantially expand its global customer base, the company said. It makes firearms for military and law enforcement, personal defense, hunting, sport shooting and other civilian uses.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval but is anticipated to close in the second quarter ending June 30.

Stephen Singer can be reached at ssinger@courant.com.Read More 

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