Surprise Announcement: AREX and Steyr Now Owned by the Same Czech Holding Company

James Reeves
by James Reeves
Photo credit: Ryan Ogborn

In a landmark move for the gun industry, RSBC Investment Group has strategically acquired STEYR ARMS, the prestigious Austrian firearm manufacturer known for its rich history and robust product line – but of course, we’re all thinking about the Steyr AUG. This acquisition, completed on April 23, 2024, signifies a major consolidation in the European defense sector, with RSBC Group now owning both STEYR ARMS and AREX under one unified corporate framework.

Industry News @ TFB:

STEYR ARMS, with a legacy dating back to 1864, has established itself as a key player in the production of firearms for both military and police use globally. The company boasts a significant workforce spread across Austria and the USA, with a turnover reaching over EUR 45 million in 2023. Their flagship product, the Steyr AUG, is notably used by numerous military and special police forces worldwide (and prominently featured in the greatest Christmas movie ever made).

The integration of STEYR ARMS into RSBC’s portfolio has, quite literally overnight, made RSBC a major player in the gun industry. Between operating STEYR and AREX, another prominent member of the RSBC family, we should all be curious to see how these two companies will play off each other, or if they intend to avoid commingling their operations altogether. It seems from the press release that both companies will be guided by the experienced leadership of Tim Castagne, the current CEO of AREX who has over three decades in the defense industry. I’ve known Tim from his days as President of SIG SAUER GmbH & Co. and I’m confident his leadership will usher in a new era for Steyr.

The full press release is below:

RSBC Holding a.s.
April 24th 2024, Prague, Czech Republic

RSBC Investment Group acquires
Austrian STEYR ARMS, a leading
European firearm manufacturer, into
its portfolio

STEYR ARMS, GmbH (STEYR ARMS), a globally operating manufacturing company
specializing in the defense sector, is now part of Robert Schönfeld’s Czech
investment group RSBC. The parties have decided not to disclose the price of the
transaction.
The transaction closed on April 23rd 2024. RSBC Group takes over 100% of STEYR
ARMS from the previous owner, SMH Holding GmbH. As a result, RSBC will be able
to focus fully on the strategic development of STEYR ARMS, with particular
emphasis on strengthening its position in foreign markets.
STEYR ARMS is a globally operating firearm manufacturer with a tradition dating
back to 1864. STEYR ARMS has more than 200 employees in Austria and the USA.
The company’s turnover for 2023 exceeded EUR 45 million. STEYR ARMS is a major
global supplier of firearms for police and military professionals as well as hunting
rifles (STEYR Mannlicher). The flagship product is the Steyr AUG, which is used by
more than two dozen armies and a number of special police units.
Robert Schönfeld, founder of the RSBC investment and industrial group: “STEYR
ARMS has an excellent reputation and tradition in the world. It stands for trust and
quality. Its products are among the best in the hunting, civilian and defense sectors.

We firmly believe that the range, resources and deep expertise of RSBC will
contribute to the successful growth of STEYR ARMS.”
“Since the takeover in 2007, STEYR ARMS has undergone a steep growth path.
Sales increased sevenfold and the number of employees almost tripled. Today, the
company’s innovative and high-quality products are very popular worldwide,
especially among professional users such as the police and military. With RSBC as
the new owner, further growth opportunities in sales and earnings can be tapped in
the future by exploiting synergies, thus further strengthening the position of this
Austrian manufacturing plant,” says Gerhard Unterganschnigg, Managing Director
of SMH Holding Gmbh.
Milan Šlapák, CEO of RSBC Group, adds: “The acquisition of STEYR Arms is a
once-in-a-generation opportunity. We are proud to be involved in the further
development of its legacy. STEYR ARMS has an exceptional product portfolio
especially in the field of long guns for the military and law enforcement, and also in
the category of hunting and sporting rifles.”
RSBC Group forms a new holding, which includes both STEYR ARMS and a
Slovenian production company AREX, which was acquired in 2017 as the first asset
of the RSBC Defence Group Fund. New holding will be led by Tim Castagne, the
current CEO of AREX, who has more than three decades of experience in the
defense industry. The new holding will contribute to the strategic development of
both companies. Future synergies will recruit from the combined product portfolios,
research and development capacity as well as from strengthening of sales and
service channels.

For those interested in more specific insights into AREX and Steyr, TFBTV has provided extensive coverage on YouTube. You can view detailed discussions on their latest models from IWA 2024, such as the AREX Maritime Pistol:

Of course, there is also a TFBTV vid on the long-awaited M2 version of the AUG:

James Reeves
James Reeves

Owner, Neutral Ground Gun Co. NRA/Louisiana State Police certified concealed weapons instructor, 2012-present Maxim Magazine's MAXIMum Warrior, 2011 TFBTV Executive Producer Champion, Key West Cinco De Mayo Taco Eating Competition Lawyer Instagram: gunshorts Twitter: @jjreeves

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3 of 29 comments
  • Predrag Djuric Predrag Djuric on Apr 25, 2024

    Very interesting news Mr. Reeves.

  • THeWasTeDYouTh THeWasTeDYouTh on Apr 27, 2024

    basically once the war and threat of Russia goes away all the investment firms will dump or close down these old firearm companies because they can't make any money from them. What a shame this had to happen to Steyr, one of the oldest and most famous firearms companies in the world. I guess capitalism has to capitalism, buy something and milk it for all that its worth and when its done close it down and move on.

    • Premek Marek Premek Marek on May 10, 2024

      @tHeWasTeDYouTh What do you think Steyr (not the APC manufacturers, but the huting rifle manufacturers) do that they will profit from war in Ukraine? AUG is so marginal, that it is not worth mentioning, armored cars are made elsewhere...

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