June 1998

Walther Negotiating To Purchase Interarms

German handgun manufacturer Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen is in negotiations to buy Interarms, Inc., the firm that has handled its marketing and distribution in the United States for more than 30 years, market sources report.

Officials from the two companies would neither confirm nor deny the reports, but several sources in Europe and in this country said talks between Walther and Interarms have been under way for some time. Most observers think the deal, worth a reported $13-14 million, could close within a couple of months, although no timetable had been set.

Rumors that Interarms was on the block began late last year when the firm lost the Rossi revolver and rifle line—its largest and most profitable—to Braz-Tech International LLP, a newly-formed joint operation between Amadeo Rossi and Taurus International. Walther and the Japanese-made Howa rifle line are Interarms’ remaining brands.

Interarms has represented Walther in the Unites States since the mid-1960’s under a licensing arrangement that continues until 2014. If the deal goes through as expected, Walther would regain the U.S. rights to its name and trademarks while building market share under its own name.

The Walther PPK is manufactured for Interarms by Emco, Inc. of Gadsden, Alabama. Walther’s 9mm pistol is imported, but with a retail price that tops $900, the gun has not carved out the market niche in this country that Walther would like. Market sources say that price could probably be reduced if the gun were made in the U.S. “A deal like this makes sense because they could set up something like Walther USA and have everything in place to manufacture here if they wanted to,” one observer commented.

The possibility of a Walther-Interarms deal also piqued the interest of several wholesalers who see a chance to pick up some of Interarms’ Rossi inventory at bargain prices.

Interarms reportedly has substantial stock of the Brazilian revolver, but has thus far refrained from making low cost, high volume sales many believe would disrupt the still fragile handgun markets.


Investors Looking To Purchase AMT
An investor group from Oregon is reportedly looking to purchase California pistol manufacturer Arcadia Machine & Tool, Inc. (AMT), a deal that had been pending since late last year.

AMT was founded by the late Harry Sanford, who developed the .44 AMP cartridge and the Automag pistol that fired the round. The Automag .44 AMP was discontinued in 1982, the victim of high production costs and limited volume.

While it waits for the sale to be completed, the company is producing a limited edition of 1,000 of the .44 AMP pistols, commemorative pieces that are manufactured like the original gun Sanford developed. Retail cost on the Harry Sanford commemorative Automag is $2,750.


Burris Unveils Varminter Game Software
Burris Company, which is best known for its sport optics, has introduced “Varminter,” a new computer software game that simulates prairie dog hunting.

Marketing director Patrick Beckett said players choose from three rifles and any of eight Burris scope crosshairs to simulate shooting at prairie dogs at distances ranging from 50 to 200 yards. The targets run from mound to mound, moving faster as the skill level progresses. The game retails for $36.

Beckett said his company has shown the game at several shows and functions and adds that it has been “so popular that we find ourselves in the unenviable position of policing the amount of time one person can play so more people have a chance to try it.” He added that the game is the most realistic shooting sports simulation on the market today.


Laseraim Arms Replacement Barrels Moving Briskly
Aftermarket compensated barrels chambered for 400 Cor-Bon and .357 Sig have been strong sellers in the first couple of months of 1998 for Laseraim Arms, ending more than a year of drought in the product area.

The company estimates that sales of the barrels are up about 75 percent over last year, due mainly to heavy volume that have been moving to catalog marketers. Barrels in .400 Cor-Bon made to fit the Beretta Model 92 are the top sellers, followed by units that fit the Ruger P-90 series. Colt, Glock 21 and Sig 220 replacement barrels are moving well in both calibers.

Laseraim hopes to capitalize on the apparent market strength of the 400 Cor-Bon by producing a new pistol for the caliber, an addition to its .45 ACP and 10mm Laseraim line. The company has cut prices for all the pistols in its line, dropping to about $300 dealer cost.

The guns were originally supposed to ship about a month ago, but deliveries have been held up due to delays at the firm’s Wyoming factory, which had seen limited activity for the past couple of years. Laseraim made just a few more than 100 pistols at the plant in each of the last two years.