British Army rifle maker goes into receivership
By Susie Mesure
22 February 2005
A rifle maker founded by the double Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Cooper has collapsed into receivership.
Accuracy International, which supplied the British Army with their standard sniper rifle, was forced to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrative receivers on Friday. The Portsmouth-based precision engineering company sacked 22 of its 28 employees yesterday.
Its downfall comes in spite of a Â£5m contract from the Ministry of Defence last autumn to supply Britain's crack troops with the largest-calibre rifles used since the Zulu wars some 120 years ago.
Both Accuracy International and its holding company, Accuracy Group, had been loss-making for some years, documents filed at Companies House revealed. In the 12 months to the end of December 2003, Accuracy Group racked up losses before tax of Â£324,184.
The group's total borrowings across its companies spiralled to Â£3.4m as of December 2003. Its annual report shows the group was due to meet its bankers for talks about renewing its overdraft facility last December.
A PwC spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that Mike Gercke and Derek Howell had been appointed as joint administrators. She said it was unclear whether its collapse affected its two US-based subsidiaries.
Mr Cooper, who died of cancer in 2001 aged 51, started the company in 1978. In the early 1990s Accuracy International won a contract to supply the British army with their standard sniper rifle, officially known as the L96, and unofficially as "The Green Machine".
Mr Cooper's wife, Sarah, is understood to have taken over the running of the company after her husband's death. As well as supplying the British army, Accuracy International also had contracts with forces in Germany, Australia and Austria.