According to WSJ, Colt is controlled by Sciens Capital Management LLC and has “$248.8 outstanding on the bonds as of June 29.” On November 13 the bonds were trading at about 30 cents on the dollar. WSJ claims that even if Colt is somehow able to pay bondholders on time, it quickly faces another hurdle via a “$48.1 million term-loan agreement by Dec. 31.”
So what does this all mean? First, it’s a literal example of not putting all your eggs in one basket. Colt has had U.S. government military contracts since there were bullets to be shot. While they have always sold to the civilian market, they have rarely ever “listened” to it. Example: Civilians have always thought of Colt when they think of the 1911. But they sought variety in finishes, lighter materials, etc. Colt’s reaction was “whatever” and they did nothing. Kimber and other 1911 makers strolled in and stole the lion’s share of the 1911 market right out from under Colt’s nose. Sure Colt reluctantly released some newer-style models later once Kimber and others had a huge share of the market, but then it looked forced.
The Colt Competition division was formed and they listened to the folks in the civilian market. They also took off and made a little money. But when Colt’s military contracts started to go away, the old school, hard-headed management snagged the Competition division (that was making money) and forced it back under the old umbrella. Funny thing was, they didn’t keep those in charge who had made it successful. They put the old guys back in charge and they sunk it just like they had Colt.
Now I’m not here to drag Colt down. I own more Colt 1911’s and AR’s than I care to even admit. And they are by far amend my favorites. But I am saddened by any company I respect when they ignore trends and desires of the people who pay their bills and do what they want regardless. I do not want to see Colt go away. I do not want to see Colt be the next Remington. I grew up with Remington 870’s that were the most reliable shotguns on the market. I have a newer one now that won’t cycle a spent shell under almost any circumstance. I do not want my pre-Freedom Group Colt’s (God forbid) to become collector’s items.
Let’s hope Colt can make their bond payment and use this close call as a lesson to regroup and choose a direction that benefits the company, and in the end, the consumer.