Beretta Holding adds ammunition to arms and optics: the CEO view

Paolo Valpolini

Created in the 1520’s, after five centuries Beretta Group remains a family enterprise, which has evolved from a small arms manufacturer into a global multinational and a one-stop-shop for civil, law enforcement and military customers, both from the industrial and customer standpoint.

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EDR On-Line had the chance to talk to Mr. Pietro Gussalli Beretta, the President and CEO of Beretta Holding, the industrial group that holds direct or indirect participation in 50  companies related to light firearms, sights, and since late July 2022 ammunition.

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On July 29th this year Beretta Holding announced the acquisition of RUAG Ammotec, the Swiss company renowned for its quality ammunition and the European biggest player. “We acquired 100% of the company and launched a reorganisation and rebranding of its activities,” Pietro Gussalli Beretta explains. As Switzerland considers the name RUAG the brand of the State defence industry, the Italian industrial group was forced to change the name of the acquired company which has become a sub-holding of Beretta Holding, and maintains control over the five rebranded activities. “We moved the sub-holding to Luxembourg where Beretta Holding has its headquarter, and therefore decided to rename it Ammolux, from which the five operating companies depend,” Mr. Gussalli Beretta adds. The Swiss company, mostly involved in hunting and military – law enforcement markets, has been rebranded SwissP, while the German one, which the 1,600 employees represent more than half of the overall workforce of the ammunition business, is now named RWS, its production spanning over the whole spectrum. The Hungarian company is now named Hexagon, and is very active on hunting and military markets. The two companies mostly oriented to the civilian market are the Swedish one, now named Norma, and the one in the United States, which is now Norma USA.

“The latter is the smallest entity within Ammolux, but we intend developing it, as the US market is definitely the widest market worldwide,” Pietro Gussalli Beretta says. Based in Savannah, Georgia, the company will expand with the opening of a new manufacturing facility dedicated to civil and law enforcement ammunition, completing the already strong Beretta Holding presence in the US with its light firearms and optics.

“However the acquisition of the former RUAG Ammotec allowed us to rebalance our presence between the US and Europe,” the Beretta Holding CEO explains. “It also responds to our group strategy, that aims at being a global player both geographically and in terms of products, in the four main areas of activity, hunting, shooting, law enforcement and military, and now we are able to provide those markets with arms, optics and ammunition” Mr. Beretta says.

According to the holding CEO all the Ammolux production facilities are well organised and equipped with state-of-the-art tooling. However “We will continue investing in the plants to provide them with cutting edge technologies, as it is the habit of our family, where our group invests  3% of its annual revenues in research and development.”

Each one of the five aforementioned companies maintains its autonomy, and is subject to the national laws in terms of export licences. Beside production, they have their own sales and commercial structures, although synergies are obvious not only between them but also with other entities owned by Beretta Holding, such as Beretta Defence Technologies when considering the military market.

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The addition of the ammunition branch to the other two, weapons and optics, will allow the different Beretta Holding players to design from scratch new products controlling all the parameters, optimising performances, while on the marketing side the group will be able to provide a customer with an all-inclusive package that will definitely give an edge to the proposal. Pietro Gussalli Beretta looks forward to strongly develop the the ammunition business, as it happened with the optics business which has increased considerably and is now worth 130-150 million Euro of annual revenues.

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“Currently the turnover of the Ammolux sub-holding represents around 35% of the overall 1.5 billion Euro of the Beretta Holding,” Mr. Beretta tells EDR On-Line, adding that the trend for 2022 looks favourable, although of course intermediate numbers remain undisclosed. As said, 2022 results should show a rebalancing between the US and European turnover, bringing the latter at approximately 45% “And we have in mind further investments in our European facilities,” the CEO adds, as the current geopolitical situation let’s foreseeing interesting market opportunities, especially in the military domain.

Currently Beretta Holding’s key market areas are Europe and North America, however the group follows with interest potential opportunities worldwide. This might lead to a further expansion of its geographical industrial footprint as “We are interested in further participations in some key and fast growing  geographical areas, in line with the Beretta Holding strategy,” Pietro Gussalli Beretta concludes.

Beretta was created 500 years ago in the Trompia Valley; as  for all the oldest industrial facilities the vicinity of a the Mella river was a must, as flowing water represented the main source of energy. This might become useful in these days of energetic crisis, as hydroelectric power plants still exist in the valley and might well help mitigating the dependency of the original Beretta Fabbrica d’Armi plant from other power sources, a historical link that brings it back to the origins.

Photos and Graphics courtesy Beretta