Czech financial investor RSBC announces the takeover of Austrian firearm manufacturer STEYR ARMS

The well-established Austrian firearm manufacturer STEYR ARMS is now part of the Czech investment group RSBC. STEYR ARMS is a global manufacturer with a history dating back to 1864. The company has over 200 employees in Austria and the USA and achieved a group turnover of over 45 million euros in 2023. With this acquisition, the investment and industrial group RSBC, founded by Robert Schönfeld, has added another company operating in both the defense and civilian firearms markets to its portfolio. The transaction was completed on 23 April 2024 and comprises 100% of the shares in STEYR ARMS. The contracting parties have agreed not to disclose the price of the transaction, according to the press release.

STEYR ARMS is now being transferred in its entirety from its previous owner, SMH Holding GmbH, to RSBC Group. According to its own statements, the new owner intends to concentrate fully on the strategic development of STEYR ARMS, focusing on strengthening the market position of the globally active company on the international markets.

Comments on the takeover of STEYR ARMS by the Czech RSBC Group:

The RSBC Investment Group was founded in 1998 by Robert Schönfeld (above) to manage family assets and has now acquired STEYR ARMS GmbH, the second internationally operating firearm manufacturer.

Robert Schönfeld, Chairman of the RSBC Board of Directors, comments on the acquisition as follows: “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.”

Gerhard Unterganschnigg, Managing Director of SMH Holding GmbH, the previous owner, assesses the sale as follows: “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.”

Milan Šlapák, CEO of the RSBC Group, sees the acquisition as a historic, unique opportunity: “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.”

Milan Šlapák, CEO of the RSBC Group, sees the acquisition of STEYR ARMS as a unique opportunity and is proud to be involved in the further development of the company.

Background information on RSBC Holding:

RSBC Holding a.s. is a private investment group based in Prague, which Robert Schönfeld founded in 1998 to manage family assets. RSBC focuses on traditionally conservative investments that create long-term value but also enable growth and expansion. According to its own statements, RSBC relies on a strategy in which the group identifies suitable options. It then develops these opportunities based on the experience and knowledge of generations through a combination of investments and active management. To secure its market position and diversify its portfolio, RSBC relies on a solid foundation with the following four investment pillars: Real Estate, Private Equity, Investment Funds and Wealth Management. With AREX, the civilian and military arms business was added for the first time in 2017.

AREX CEO Tim Castagne will lead the new RSBC holding company with STEYR ARMS and AREX in the future

Tim Castagne, the current CEO of AREX, will head the new holding company that RSBC is now creating following the takeover of STEYR ARMS and AREX Defense, which was acquired in 2017.

Following the acquisition of STEYR ARMS, the RSBC Group is now creating a new holding company that will form the umbrella for both the new acquisition and the Slovenian company AREX Defense, which was acquired in 2017 as the first asset of the RSBC Defence Group Fund. 

The current AREX CEO Tim Castagne (formerly ZEISS and SIG Sauer) is no stranger to the industry and can look back on more than three decades of experience in the arms and defence industry. Castagne will head the new holding company, which aims to drive forward the strategic development of both companies. The combined product portfolios, research and development capacities and the strengthening of sales and service channels should result in corresponding synergies.

Further information on the arms manufacturers STEYR ARMS and AREX Defense

Founded in 1864 in Steyr, Austria, the manufacturer is now one of the leading arms manufacturers in Europe. STEYR ARMS GmbH has more than 200 employees and achieved a turnover of over 45 million euros in the 2023 financial year. STEYR ARMS plays an important role in the field of hunting rifles and service weapons for law enforcement and the military. The legendary Steyr AUG, which was introduced to the Austrian armed forces in 1978 as the StG77 and has since been modernised several times, is one of the company's most successful models. It is carried by more than two dozen armies and, thanks to its compact design, by numerous special police units worldwide. Other strong products from STEYR ARMS include precision rifles, service pistols and accessories for professional users in the military, police and law enforcement sectors, as well as hunting and sport shooting firerarms. With its U.S. subsidiary in Bessemer, Alabama, the company also has an important dependency for the local market.

The STEYR AMRS plant in Steyr, Austria. Since 23 April 2024, the renowned arms manufacturer has been wholly owned by the Czech RSBC Group, which also owns the Slovenian manufacturer AREX Defense
A look inside the STEYR ARMS production facility. This is where the legendary Steyr AUG assault rifle and its civilian offshoots are produced. The well-established company currently employs more than 200 people worldwide.

AREX was founded in 1994. The company headquarters and the approximately 10,000 m² factory are located in Šentjernej, Slovenia. AREX currently employs around 160 people and manufactures, among other things, practice ammunition, semi-automatic pistols for service use and sport shooting, pistol holsters, modern production lines for ammunition manufacturers as well as armour-piercing ammunition and belt links for machine guns for the demanding and highly competitive markets in Western Europe and the USA. AREX also acts as a subcontractor and supplier for large companies in the defence industry in NATO countries, the Middle East and South America, such as Brazil. The Slovenian army is also a customer. If you would like to find out more about AREX, please take a look at our all4shooters company portrait od AREX Defense with video here.

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