SIG Sauer to open new plant in Arkansas

NH plants to be unaffected by gunmaker’s decision

SIG Sauer, the Newington-based arms manufacturer, is adding at least 50 new jobs – in Arkansas.

The company, known for selling firearms to police and the military, is branching out to ammunition for hunting rifles.

The jobs – some old, some to be newly created – won’t come from the Granite State, which will largely be unaffected by the initiative, but from Kentucky, where the company was already churning out ammunition for handguns.

The SIG Sauer move makes the company the second major gun manufacturer located in New Hampshire to look south to open a new facility. Two years ago, Sturm, Ruger & Co. opened a plant in North Carolina, blaming the lack of available labor resources and economic incentives in the Granite State. Ruger also said it wanted to keep its factories at a manageable size.

“There is nothing negative about New Hampshire,” SIG Sauer marketing director Tom Taylor told NH Business Review. “It’s just that Arkansas was very, very aggressive.”

Arkansas is giving SIG Sauer $800,000 from the governor's Quick Action Closing Fund, along with an income tax credit based on maintaining a certain payroll level, and sales tax refunds on materials, machinery and equipment associated with the expansion, according to the publication Arkansas Business.

New Hampshire generally doesn’t offer tax breaks to individual companies.

Diversified products

SIG Sauer’s new plant would be located right near a Remington Arms facility, which is also adding 84 jobs, thanks to similar tax breaks.

The facility is also close to suppliers, added Steve Shawver, SIG Sauer’s executive vice president and chief legal officer.

The company started manufacturing ammunition in Kentucky a year ago to diversify into production of a consumable product as well as to offer customers a full range of services. Gun manufacturers in general have been adding ammunition lines. Ruger announced that it was partnering with a company to offer a branded product several in October.

SIG Sauer currently employs 1,100 workers in five facilities seacoast in Portsmouth, Newington, Exeter and Epping. Taylor said he expects that New Hampshire number to grow as sales increase, especially in an election season when gun control and terrorism are major issues.

“Anytime people feel there is a need to protect themselves, or they are nervous about political regulations on firearms, there is more interest,” said Taylor.

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