Remington, the oldest gun maker in the United States, files for bankruptcy protection

  • Remington disclosed late Sunday that it filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware.
  • Many U.S. gun makers saw sharp sales declines after the 2016 election that brought Donald Trump to the presidency.
  • Remington Outdoors, which also owns gun makers Marlin and Bushmaster, says it saw 2017 sales fall more than 30 percent year-over-year to $600 million.
  • It's not clear whether the bankruptcy will affect a major class action settlement.

After 202 years in business, America's oldest gun manufacturer, Remington, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The filing by Remington Arms Company and its parent, Remington Outdoors, was disclosed late Sunday night on the website of the United States Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. Details of the filing were not immediately available, but in a note to investors on Friday, the company reported negative operating cash flow as of March 25 of $7.4 million.

Remington Outdoors, which also owns gun manufacturers including Marlin and Bushmaster, says sales in 2017 were just over $600 million, down more than 30 percent from 2016.

Like other gun manufacturers, Remington saw sharp sales declines following the 2016 presidential election, as customers apparently saw less urgency to stockpile firearms under President Donald Trump.

Adding to Remington's problems are heavy debt, as well as product liability concerns involving its signature product, the Model 700 bolt-action rifle, which CNBC first investigated in 2010.

While Remington maintains that the guns are safe, the company has agreed to replace the triggers on millions of guns in a class action settlement. The company has refused to say whether the bankruptcy filing — which it first signaled last month — will affect the settlement.

Remington said in February that the bankruptcy would be pre-packaged under an agreement with its lenders. It is not immediately clear when the company hopes to emerge from bankruptcy.

Remington is owned by private equity giant Cerberus, which began buying up gun companies a decade ago. Soon after CNBC's first investigation in 2010, Cerberus dropped plans for an initial public offering of what was then known as the Freedom Group.

After the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Cerberus announced plans to exit the gun business, but could not find a buyer. Cerberus eventually let its institutional investors cash out of Freedom Group, which remained on Cerberus' books, eventually renamed Remington Outdoors.

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