Background interview on the takeover of Vista's Kinetic Group with many well-known U.S. ammunition brands by the Czechoslovak Group (CSG) based in Prague

The Czech investor, Czechoslovak Group (CSG), had already announced the acquisition of U.S. ammunition brands from the Vista Group (formerly Vista Sporting Products) at the end of 2023. These include well-established brands such as Remington, CCI and Speer. We have reported on the transaction in great detail, with background information, here at The company had already acquired the Italian Fiocchi Munizioni a year earlier. Many questions have now arisen in specialist circles. The CSG Group has therefore now published an interesting interview, which we have reproduced below. David Štěpán answers the questions. He is Director for Foreign Investments and Director of Ammo+ Division at Czechoslovak Group:

Who is the CSG?

Czechoslovak Group (CSG) is a leading industrial technology holding company operating in five strategic business segments, including Defense, Aerospace, Ammunition, Mobility and Business Projects.

The Czechoslovak Group (“CSG”), based in Prague, is a leading industrial technology company operating in five strategic business segments: Defense, Aerospace, Ammunition, Mobility and Business Projects. It is 100% controlled and led by entrepreneur Michal Strnad, who has transformed it into the preeminent Czech industrial group, with a strong international footprint. CSG employs more than 10,000 people worldwide and owns and manages a diverse portfolio of industrial and trade companies across the civil and defense sectors. CSG has a demonstrated history of supporting the long-term growth and success of the companies it acquires.

Why is CSG acquiring Vista’s Kinetic Group (former Vista Sporting Products)?

With this acquisition, CSG will become one of the most important ammunition manufacturers in the world with a comprehensive portfolio across all calibers. CSG acquires companies to operate and invest in over the long term – and that is its intent with the Vista Sporting Products business. CSG understands the special importance of the brands that are part of this business to American consumers. CSG intends to respect and maintain the production quality and supply of the legacy brands that Americans have relied on for decades.

Kinetic Group includes brands such as Remington, Speer, CCI and Federal.

Where does CSG currently sell ammunition?

CSG sells to customers around the world. CSG sells small-caliber ammunition to end customers for competitive shooting, recreational shooting, hunting and personal/home defense. A smaller part of CSG’s business is selling to the defense and law enforcement sectors in NATO and EU countries. CSG also supplies to NATO armies and Ukraine.

What countries does CSG supply armaments to?

CSG companies are major suppliers to the Army of the Czech Republic as well as the Ukrainian Army. Another important market is Indonesia, where CSG companies supply, for example, a comprehensive air defense system.

Does CSG currently sell to law enforcement in the U.S. and/or the U.S. military?

CSG companies have supplied law enforcement in the U.S. with POLR-1 radars. They also supply the U.S. Army with components of Soviet-origin air defense systems for training purposes. Working with Raytheon, with the support of the U.S. government, CSG KAI provided training for Afghan helicopter pilots and mechanics before the Taliban took over the country.

What is CSG's role in artillery ammunition´s industry?

In Europe, we are an important player in the field of artillery ammunition, one of the five largest manufacturers on the old continent, and we play an important role in supplying this strategic commodity to both NATO countries and Ukraine .

Someone may claim that big American brands of small caliber ammunition should stay in American hands. What´s your comment to this?

We are of the opinion that a company like us, an expert trader and producer in defence and small calibre ammo segment seated in NATO country, U.S. ally, which holds and develops companies in long term and not for the sake of financial speculations, is the right owner who actually minimizes any risks for U.S. customers, be it in civil or law enforcement segment. We will bring to U.S. small caliber ammo producers stability and investments which they need.

Are there any restrictions in supplying small caliber ammunition to U.S. defence and law enforcement customers if a producer is owned by a foreign entity?

We are not aware of any such restrictions, we would note that Fiocchi – owned 70% by CSG and before that by an Italian entity – has for years, and continues to, sell ammunition to law enforcement distributors. For example, in 2023 Fiocchi sold ammunition directly to the Department of Homeland Security. Further, PMC, a South Korean ammunition manufacturer, sells to U.S. law enforcement through – a law enforcement-only distributor. There are many other similar examples in the market.

Do you have any special relation to Russia or Russian regime?

First of all this is all nonsense and facts speak clearly: we are strategic supplier of defence products for NATO countries, several of our companies are holders of national and NATO security clearance level Secret, we are very important supplier of Ukrainian Army and we have rich legacy of cooperation with US companies like Raytheon or GD. Thanks to acquisition of Fiocchi last year we had to pass the screening of CIFIUS. None of this would be possible if we have any ties to Russia. The reason why these attacks appear in public space is apparently to damage our reputation. I will not speculate about the perpetrator. We don´t waste our time on this because we know that regulators or institutional shareholders are professionals who decide based on hard facts.

Does CSG cooperate with Chinese Huawei?

There was a claim that DAKO-CZ, a member of the CSG group, cooperated with the Chinese company Huawei. It is misleading and false. DAKO-CZ did not cooperate with Huawei. It supplies braking systems for rail vehicles for the well-known Swiss company Stadler which operates also in USA. One of Stadler's projects is the delivery of trains for Huawei's Dianshan Lake campus in China. Fabricating the claim that CSG is working with Huawei from this real information is a typical example of fake news.

What will be your first steps / decision once the transaction is successfully closed?

Firstly, we need to start working together with the Management on existing tasks and see what is left there from the spin off. Even for them it is going to be a new situation being on their own. Depending on the closing date, we will see how far in the new fiscal year we are. Obviously, the plan or a budget for the next year is still their decision so we will need to understand the opportunities and risks associated with that plan and take it from there.

How are you going to manage the Kinetic Group / Sporting division?

Kinetic Group together with Fiocchi group will part of our Ammo+ Division which focuses on small caliber ammo production and is led by David Štěpán, board member of CSG. We see our added value in bringing production experience from Europe and other markets. The idea is to bring together the best procedures and processes from both groups and to be better in what we do every day. On the other side, we are ready to help the company to get their products also outside of U.S.

Are you planning to expand the Kinetic Group products outside of USA? Are you planning any transfer of technology, any JVs, partnerships with foreign entities etc.?

The priority for us is the U.S. commercial market. Secondly, our group is strong in the defence segment so we will also focus on future supplies to NATO countries, and NATO partners. We are convinced Remington and Federal are able to successfully compete in EU and other markets.

How is Fiocchi of America going to fit to the new structure?

Fiocchi of America is still 100% subsidiary of Fiocchi Munizioni, the Italian parent entity where CSG has 70% ownership and that remains valid even after the Kinetic Group acquisition. 

As a Group and within the Ammo+ Division, we will look for possible optimisations and effective capacity utilisation. The most obvious option is to limit the transport of ammunition components from Italy to Fiocchi of America and utilise the available production capacity of the Kinetic Group. This would also allow Fiocchi Italy to redirect its additional production capacity to other markets. However, this area is very complex and we have to comply with a number of laws and regulations as well as existing agreements.

The utmost important for us is, there is no adverse impact on our customers so they get the products they are used on the shelf on time and they keep relying on quality and customer service they are used to.

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