Heckler & Koch is a company that hasn’t had the best of years. First, it was learned that they had decided to cut of the sale of weapons to Israel. This runs the risk of alienating many American gun owners who vehemently support our nation’s staunchest ally in the region. Then the company bounced their CEO.
Now, the former managing director for the company is trying to take his former employer to court to shine some line on the shadowy people who actually own the company.
According to the German finance magazine BILANZ the former Managing Director of Heckler & Koch, Mr. Nicola Marinelli, wants to force his former employer before the Discritc Court to expose its true shareholders.
Exactly when Mr. Marinelli left Heckler & Koch is unknown to me, but probably in 2016. I can only find a press release when he joined, and it seems they did not parts as friends.
Below: From the Bilanz (Welt) article.
According to Marinelli foreign investors have taken control of the Oberndorf firearms manufacturer. Changes of ownership like that would require a permit from the Federal Government, due to the nature of Heckler & Koch’s business.
According to Marinelli, Andreas Heeschen controls 60 percent of the company and should have turned over that control to French investor Nicholas Walewski.
Regardless of just who should be controlling the company, it’s odd that H&K’s ownership is the subject of so many questions. While I tend to be a pretty lassiez faire kind of a guy, firearm companies are often treated differently and for a very good reason. They’re far more strategic in nature for a nation than, say, a toy company. Nations want to know just who owns the company providing weapons to their military and police departments.
Not only that, but since every gun company tends to develop new products, they all compete for engineers and designers. No one wants to find out their best and brightest are creating guns for an enemy of your nation, particularly those best and brightest.
Is that what’s happening here? Probably not. It’s probably just a case of either laziness in making the appropriate steps to notify the German government, or it’s a case of someone just not wanting it known they own a gun company. Those seem the most likely reasons, though I’ll admit there are infinitely more possibilities up to and including the very strong possibility that Marinelli is just upset and lashing out at nothing.
Meanwhile, it’s not a promising sign that H&K is having all this difficulty at this point in time. Since August, the company has been embroiled in some kind of turmoil, and just as it seemed it was settling down, Marinelli drops this potential bombshell.
What kind of disruption will this create in H&K’s daily operations? Probably not much. The people who actually make and ship the guns are very different than the suits who run the company. Those guys will keep churning out guns and packing them until there’s a reason not to, but the executives will be a bit preoccupied with this for a little while.
There’s no telling at this point, from this angle, what the outcome will be, but it should be fairly interesting to watch.