The news out of Hartford is sad, but isn’t unexpected:
Colt Defense LLC warned that it could default by the end of the year, as the privately owned company, which has suffered from declining demand for rifles and handguns, is likely to miss a payment to bondholders.
The gun maker faces a $10.9 million payment to bondholders Nov. 17, according to a filing on Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. If Colt skips the payment, it will enter a 30-day grace period, but without payment by Dec. 15 it will be in default and bondholders can demand immediate, full payment.
Colt, which is controlled by investment firm Sciens Capital Management LLC, had $248.8 million outstanding on the bonds as of June 29. The bonds were trading in the mid-30 cents on the dollar—deep in distressed territory—on Thursday.
The Wall Street Journal is charitable in mentioning that the market for firearms has softened considerably since the crush of business that has come in the past few years, noting that other gun companies in the industry are also seeing their profits decline.
Despite having one of the truly iconic American brands and a lineup of legendary firearms in both military and civilian markets, the company has obviously been unable to transfer those assets into profit.