Gunmaker Remington surfaces from bankruptcy

Posted at 2:23 PM, May 18, 2018

The nation’s oldest gunmaker has exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy on firmer financial footing, with less red ink and better access to capital.

"It is morning in Remington Country," Anthony Acitelli, CEO of Remington Outdoor, said Thursday in a statement. "We are excited about the future – producing quality products, serving our customers and providing good jobs for our employees."

Remington’s 13 brands include ammunition makers, silencer manufacturers and the 200-year-old rifle maker for which it is named.

Remington creditors including JPMorgan Chase and Franklin Advisors will take ownership stakes in the company. Bank of America and six other banks extended $193 million in loans to the arms maker. 

Investors in Remington’s prior owner, Cerberus Capital Management had called on the private equity fund to unload the company after its Bushmaster rifle was used in the 2012 shooting that killed 20 children in Connecticut.

After Cerberus purchased Remington in 2007 the weapons maker piled up almost $1 billion in debt. It filed for bankruptcy protection in March, weeks after a mass shooting at a Florida high school fueled renewed calls for gun control by student-led activists. 

Remington’s decline was hastened by the 2016 election of Donald Trump, with gun sales slowing as worries about gun control ebbed among firearm enthusiasts.  

Other gun manufacturers have also struggled. American Outdoor Brands, formerly known as Smith & Wesson, saw its profits slide 90 percent last year, Mr. Trump’s first year in office. 

The political headwinds also came up during a conference call earlier this month, as Vista Outdoor CEO Chris Metz discussed the company’s decision to stop making firearms to focus on products such as bullets and bottled water.

"Unexpectedly, the election results turned the shooting sports industry upside down," Metz said, adding "the bottom line is this, the company grew too fast and beyond its core."

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

RELATED: Montana father takes case against Remington to social media