SIG Sauer GmbH, based in Eckernförde, Germany, is to close down. According to German media outlets, SIG Sauer GmbH’s shareholders are unwilling to invest further funds in the struggling European arm of the company.
SIG Sauer GmbH’s Managing Director, Tim Castagne, told German press that the 130 strong workforce at Eckernförde will be laid off this year and the German plant, which has been in operation since 1951, will close.
To be clear SIG Sauer GmbH is a separate entity to the US-based SIG Sauer, Inc. Both the German arm and US-based company are owned by Lüke & Ortmeier Holding Gruppe. The company also owns Swiss company SIG SAUER AG (formerly Swiss Arms).
SIG Sauer was initially formed in 1976, with the partnership of Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) of Switzerland and J.P. Sauer & Sohn of Germany. In the US SIG Sauer pistols were initially sold under the name SIGARMS before it was renamed SIG Sauer, Inc. in 2007.
A number of factors have led to the downturn in SIG Sauer GmbH’s fortunes, their exclusion from Bundeswehr small arms programs due to ITAR restrictions (as the company’s firearms are principally developed in the US, by SIG Sauer, Inc). In a press release, shared by numerous German media outlets, Managing Director, Tim Castagne, said that “SIG Sauer [GmbH] is systematically excluded from the tender because of its international orientation.”
The impact of the European Union’s increasingly hampering firearms legislation and recent legal issues have also been factors. The ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic has also no doubt played a part with sales slowing significantly in 2020.
SIG Sauer, Inc. Shared this statement with us:
L & O Holding group has announced that it is closing its SIG SAUER, GmbH (Germany) division in Eckernförde, Germany. L&O Holding owns and operates numerous business units in the defense and hunting market including SIG SAUER, GmbH (Germany), SIG SAUER, Inc. (U.S.A.), and German Sports Group, GmbH (GSG), among others.
SIG SAUER, Inc. operations in the U.S. will continue business as usual. The U.S. based division, headquartered in Newington, New Hampshire, has over 2,300 employees throughout 9 facilities in New Hampshire, Arkansas and Oregon where the company designs and manufactures firearms, ammunition, optics, suppressors and air guns. Further, in New Hampshire, the company operates one of the most advanced training facilities in the world, SIG SAUER Academy.
SIG SAUER, Inc. markets and distributes its U.S. made products in 88 countries. The SIG SAUER, Inc. International Sales Team, based in Europe, will expand its responsibilities to include the German market. German Sports Group (GSG), the current commercial distributor in Germany for SIG SAUER, Inc. optics, ammunition and air guns will expand its role to include commercial firearm sales in Germany.