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United States

Remington, oldest US gunmaker, files for bankruptcy

The bankruptcy comes amid mounting pressure for gun control laws in the US

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 March, 2018, 1:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 March, 2018, 10:39pm

Remington Outdoor Co Inc, one of the largest US makers of firearms, filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday to carry out a debt-cutting deal with creditors amid mounting public pressure for greater gun control.

The company, whose shotguns are used by police and police security operations around the world, listed assets in the range of US$500 million to US$1 billion and liabilities in the same range of US$500 million to US$1 billion.

Remington, America’s oldest gun maker, announced the deal in February to reduce its US$950 million debt load in a deal that will transfer control of the company to creditors.

‘Never again’: student-led US gun protests spread across the globe

The filing comes after a February 14 shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school that killed 17 and spurred an intense campaign for gun control by activists.

The massacre inspired hundreds of thousands of young Americans to lead huge US anti-gun rallies on Saturday.

In some of the biggest US youth demonstrations for decades, protesters called on lawmakers and President Donald Trump to confront the issue. Voter registration activists fanned out in the crowds, signing up thousands of the nation’s newest voters.

Major US companies and retailers have taken some steps to restrict firearm sales.

Citigroup Inc said last week it will require new retail-sector clients to sell firearms only to customers who passed background checks and to bar sales of high-capacity magazines.

Citi also said it was restricting sales for buyers under 21, a move adopted by other large retailers, while Kroger Co’s superstore chain Fred Meyer said it will stop selling firearms entirely.

Cerberus Capital Management LP, the private equity firm that controls Remington, will lose ownership in the bankruptcy.

Remington’s creditors, which sources told Reuters include Franklin Templeton Investments and JPMorgan Asset Management, will exchange their debt holdings for Remington equity.

“We bowed out because we were uncomfortable,” he said.

After a Remington Bushmaster rifle was used in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut in 2012 that killed 20 children and six adults, Cerberus tried unsuccessfully to sell Remington, then known as Freedom Group.

Katie-Mesner Hage, an attorney representing Sandy Hook families in a lawsuit against Remington, said in a prepared statement that she did not expect the gun maker’s bankruptcy would affect their case.

Remington and other gunmakers have suffered from slumping sales in the past year as fears of stricter gun laws have faded; anticipation of such laws paradoxically tends to increase sales.

The chief executive of American Outdoor Brands Corp, maker of the Smith & Wesson gun used in the Parkland shooting, said on March 1 that some gun retailers reported increased sales after the Florida school shooting.

Remington filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.