A new SIG Sauer ammo manufacturing plant in Jacksonville and expansion of a Remington Outdoor Company ammo plant in Lonoke are expected to add more than 130 manufacturing jobs in Arkansas, according to announcements made Thursday (Jan. 21) by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Hutchinson and staff with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission are in Las Vegas at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show – also known among gun and hunting enthusiasts as the SHOT Show. The Arkansas delegation met this week with representatives of SIG Sauer, Remington and four other companies.
SIG Sauer plans to invest “several million dollars” to open a new ammunition manufacturing plant in an existing building in Jacksonville, Ark., that is estimated to employ 50. Remington said it will expand its plant in Lonoke and add 84 new jobs. No timeline was provided by the AEDC on when the SIG Sauer plant will be operational or when the Remington plant will be expanded.
“Firearms and ammunition is a growing industry, and we came to Las Vegas to share the many reasons Arkansas is a natural fit for this sector,” Gov. Hutchinson said in the statement. “SIG Sauer was one of the first calls I made as Governor, and I am delighted they chose our state when making the decision to expand. The fact that a world-class company like SIG Sauer is choosing to do business in the state adds to our momentum in manufacturing and we appreciate this significant commitment they are making to locate in Arkansas.”
According to the AEDC, Forbes has ranked Arkansas as the third most gun-friendly state. For every 1,000 residents, there are 42 registered firearms in the state.
“I am proud that a fine company like SIG Sauer has selected Jacksonville as a place to expand their operations,” U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, noted in the AEDC statement. “The hard working people of Arkansas are excited to welcome a new, growing employer to our community.”
The U.S. operation of SIG Sauer is based in Newington, N.H., and employs more than 900 globally. The company produces pistols and rifles as well as silencers, optics, ammunitions, airguns and accessories. The company traces its roots to 1853 as a wagon factory named Swiss Industrial Company (Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft).
According to SIG Sauer, almost one-third of U.S. law-enforcement use SIG Sauer firearms. Agencies and military using SIG Sauer products include the U.S. Navy SEALS, Federal Air Marshals, Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Hutchinson said the Remington expansion helps the state’s reputation within the industry.
“Arkansas’ reputation as a hub for firearms and ammunition manufacturing continues to grow thanks to Remington’s decision to expand again in the state,” he said.
Remington Outdoor CEO Jim Marcotuli, who was promoted to the top job in June 2015, praised Remington’s Arkansas workforce.
“I am proud of the continued growth and expansion we are experiencing at our Lonoke, Arkansas facility,” Marcotuli said in the statement. “Our company’s ethos of ‘pride and precision’ is reflected in the quality ammunition our hardworking team members produce every day, and we are all looking forward to continuing this important work with the great state of Arkansas.”
Based in Madison, N.C., Remington Outdoor designs products for the hunting, shooting, self-defense, military, and law enforcement markets. Founded in 1816, ROC is the nation’s oldest gun maker and one of the largest domestic producers of firearms and ammunition. The company employs more than 3,500 people and distributes products in the U.S. and more than 55 other countries.
Remington Outdoor was on Nov. 19 hit with a rating downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s Senior Credit Officer Kevin Cassidy said the company’s debt levels are too high and commodity prices will pressure margins.
“Revenue dropped almost 25% in Q3 2015 and is down around 20% in the first nine months of 2015. We think revenue will continue falling in Q4 2015 versus Q4 2014 and will remain below $850 million for the next couple of years,” Cassidy said in the note.
For the first three quarters of 2015, the company posted total sales of $597.3 million, below the $723.5 million during the same period of 2014. The company posted a loss of $39.4 million in the three quarters, better than the loss of $41.2 million during the same period of 2014.
Roughly 10% of Remington sales are through Walmart U.S. stores.