Heckler & Koch: Andreas Heeschen on the planned sale


economy Home supplier of the Bundeswehr

Sale of Heckler & Koch develops for tarnaktion

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Gerhard Hegmann

Heckler & Koch is sold – and the details are confusing

Germany's leading weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch is to be sold – and the details of the sales plans are confusing. Thus, the company informs that the applicant is already involved in the company.

The future owner of the weapon manufacturer Heckler & Koch is already involved in the company. Who it is remains puzzling. But still owner Andreas Heeschen now gives insight into his sales plans.

Dhe surprisingly announced change of ownership at arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch is developing into a tarnaktion. Both the company and the former major shareholder Andreas Heeschen avoid naming the buyer already involved, who wants to increase his stake to a majority.

As the 58-year-old Heeschen told WELT-request, is the Federal Ministry of Economics "an application from a co-shareholder before to acquire more shares of mine." If the application is approved, "I remain a shareholder and affiliate". Heeschen WELT said literally: "In the event that the application is not granted, I remain the majority shareholder of H & K AG."

The ownership of Heckler & Koch has long been a topic of conversation. For the Federal Government, it is of national safety considerations of interest who owns the home supplier of the Bundeswehr, which is considered a favorite in the planned replacement of the assault rifle G36. Under the Foreign Trade Act, the Confederation can prohibit the entry of unwelcome foreign investors into an arms company.

Heeschen stays away shareholder meeting

In 2002, multi-entrepreneur Heeschen, together with 62-year-old entrepreneur Keith Halsey, who was registered in Switzerland, took over the Oberndorfer Waffenfirma from British hands. Halsey allegedly left four years ago. Heeschen confirms that in 2015 the French entrepreneur Nicolas Walewski "came in as a financier".

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HAMBURG, GERMANY - MARCH 04: A sailor of the German Navy stands at attention while holding the Heckler and Koch G36 at the christening ceremony of the "Saxony-Anhalt" military frigate at the Blohm + Voss shipyard on March 4, 2016 in Hamburg, Germany. The G36 came under scrutiny last but not least. (Photo by Sean Gallup / Getty Images) Getty ImagesGetty Images

Born in 1965 founder and portfolio manager of the London-based fund company Alken Fund with assets in the billions amount Heeschen called "Honorable Merchant". A former Heckler & Koch CEO even alleged in a civil suit that Walewski was in charge of the gun manufacturer. Heeschen again insists that there is "no change of majority shareholder to date".

Anyone who looked into the share register at this year's Annual General Meeting did not get any cleverer. The name Heeschen was roughly two thirds of the votes listed. Striking was a larger share of an ominous "Ignition Finance II BV" with around 3.8 million votes or roughly 15 percent share. Bank BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank were also listed on behalf of clients as shareholder votes with larger shares. Heeschen was again personally present at the shareholders meeting and was represented.

Back in the profit zone

Heeschen tries to downplay the importance of the planned majority change. He has provided the company in recent years, some 105 million euros as equity. "Additional shareholders additional 80 million euros in debt." Literally: "Changes in shares in public companies are in this context a common process."

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Bundeswehr soldiers practice basic training with the G36 rifle

His decisions focus exclusively on the company's interests, he emphasizes. His ultimate goal was "to ensure the economic and financial future and thus the efficiency of the company".

Many customers should be interested in that. For example, Heckler & Koch is currently equipping the French armed forces with a new assault rifle. The highly indebted company with 930 employees achieved 2018 about 221 million euros in sales and had about eight million euros loss. In the first half of 2019, H & K returned to profitability for the first time in two years.

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