No one should be surprised that Sturm, Ruger & Co. reported record sales for the first three months of 2013. Even before the Newtown tragedy, in early 2012, the Fairfield-based gunmaker had to halt new sales for a few weeks just to keep up with the crush of orders.
Now Sturm, Ruger — which has its head office in Connecticut but no production — says it’s looking for a third factory location. Sales jumped 39 percent from an already great level, to $156 million, with a net profit of $24 million.
Don’t look for the company to join Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Next Five program.
And with firearms profits as high as they are, we’re left wondering why Stephen Feinberg, founder and head of Cerberus Capital, hasn’t been able to unload Freedom Group, the largest gun manufacturing concern in the nation. Recall, Feinberg and his firm issued a heartfelt release on Dec. 18, four days after the murders in Newtown, saying the giant equity capital firm no longer wished to be in the firearms business.
Cerberus hired Lazard Ltd., the investment bank, to help with the sale but more than four months later we have no word, and leaked reports from Wall Street say the deal isn’t going well. Reuters reported April 17 that Feinberg himself was bringing together a group of investors that might make a bid for all or part of Freedom Group — an odd event that raises conflict questions, the story noted, perhaps as a ploy to attract outside bids.
Cerberus amassed Freedom Group over the last eight years, including two of the largest makers of military-style rifles, one of them being Bushmaster, maker of the rifle used by the murderer at Sandy Hook Elementary School. With Feinberg’s father, Martin Feinberg, a resident of Newtown, it made sense that he would want to wash his hands of the gun business.
Cerberus isn’t talking about the deal. What now makes sense is that the firm really has no reason to sell Freedom Group, which includes former Connecticut stalwarts Remington Arms and Marlin Firearms. With profits like Sturm, Ruger is reporting, what’s the rush?