Agony of Zbrojovka Brno
Since 1989, a number of until then unimaginable changes have happened in our industry. New firearms were constantly created in Zbrojovka Brno and the familiar Z in the circle still has a worldwide reputation. Zbrojovka Brno had production facilities, many experienced employees, and capable engineers. Nevertheless, after several recoveries, falls, and changes of the owners, the company’s situation turned into agony culminated in the declaration of bankruptcy in autumn 2003. In mid-2006, the firearms production in Brno Zbrojovka was terminated and an auction of the production premises of Zbrojovka Brno took place in January 2007.
BRNO RIFLES starts
The problems of Zbrojovka Brno ironically played into the hands of Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod that in the nineties of the last century still produced its own over and under shotguns, over and under rifles, and over and under rifle-shotguns; however, it terminated their production in order to expand and modernise the production of repeating rifles. Monitoring developments in the Czech Republic then resulted in a good idea not to develop new own firearms but to save the promising designs of Zbrojovka Brno. BRNO RIFLES, s.r.o. was founded in spring 2004 and was acquired in November by EXIMAT, a.s., owning a majority ownership interest in Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod. BRNO RIFLES thus became a sister company of CZUB and the “relationship” was confirmed in a way when Ing. Kamil Růžák, MBA, Member of the Supervisory Board and Safety Director of CZUB, became a Director of BRNO RIFLES.
Signs of better things to come
The chosen name of the company BRNO RIFLES says to anyone who is engaged in the armament production where it comes from. The good name pointing to the continuity of Zbrojovka Brno has become one of the pillars of the current and future successes of the new company. However, the events around “dying” Zbrojovka Brno had to come to their conclusion first. In June 2006, the production of firearms was terminated and on 31 August the last employees were dismissed. Immediately after that, at the beginning of September 2006, BRNO RIFLES purchased at a public auction machining centres and other machinery of Zbrojovka Brno. The bidders did not intend to squander finances unnecessarily and, therefore, were not interested in buying the machinery for the production of barrels and stocks. CZUB owns those machines and, therefore, it is easier to buy barrels and stocks from Uherský Brod. Further efforts were then made to purchase the industrial property rights to the most promising firearms within the portfolio of Zbrojovka Brno, i.e. over and under guns BO 800 and Brno Effect rifles. It was not easy to find the original employees of Zbrojovka Brno and, finally, BRNO RIFLES employed twenty-nine of them until mid-October. All the efforts made have resulted in a happy end and as early as on 15 January 2007 BRNO RIFLES dispatched the first over and under guns which were purchased by its sister company Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod providing BRNO RIFLES with all the activities related to trade operations.
Sale of Zbrojovka Brno premises
The premises of Zbrojovka Brno with an area of 22.5 ha were sold at an auction at the end of January 2008 for the record-breaking sum of CZK 707 million. The premises were acquired by the Slovak holding company J&T which has nothing in common with the production of firearms. This situation has led to a lot of questions.
The lease agreement was extended with the new owner and the production continued in the leased premises. However, it is necessary to state that the factory premises in their current form have no chance of survival in future. It is obvious that they will be used differently than so far. Therefore, we must be prepared to move the production facilities if necessary. Anyway, we want to stay in Brno and continue the local tradition of the production of hunting firearms.
Present situation of Brno Rifles s.r.o.
In 2009, the company started looking for adequate premises which would replace the original production and assembly halls. This move resulted from the deteriorating condition of buildings, high overhead costs connected with the original areas, as well as the newly chosen strategy of the company.
The suitable location was chosen and approved by the superior bodies of the company. The famous tradition of Zbrojovka will therefore continue - and in BRNO.