Ah, not a shot but a path to enlightenment. There's more here than meets the eye. Why would Merkel Brothers license another factory in another country if there wasn't a higher profit margin.
Syndicat Liégeois Pour la Fabrication des Armes de Guerre filed for protection in 1884 w/ Auguste Francotte in the mix.
(Copy & Paste)
Gebrüder Böhler filed for trademark protection in Belgium in 1895:
and some odd knight with 2 shields?
Sauer filed for protection about the same time.
Merkel was sourcing rough blanks, as was Gebrüder Rempt, etc. from Sl in Herstal and Louis Kelber was putting his magical
finshing touch on them. Bar stock was imported from the country of origin of the specific steel & converted into tubes in a rough state. Germany was taking advantage of cheap labour in St. Etienne prior to WWII just as they were in Liege prior to WWI. Arms weren't made from the actual soil around Suhl but were manufactured from components sourced from wherever the Suhl mechanics could source cheap labour & quality products, which were built on the backs of unsung talented mechanics in Belgium, France, etc. who were doing the bulk of the heavy lifting.
Paul Abesser & Ernst Merkel did have a lovely Büchsenmacherei und Gewehrfabrik. Moose Snoot of Sweden made a document find which indicates that Abesser & Merkel filed for a listing as a concern on December 31st, 1919 to commence business as Abesser & Merkel on the 1st of January, 1920. Paul Abesser is typically thought of as a firearms merchant or sales agency, but he does have an 1899 listing as a Büchsenmachermeister. And there was an Ernst Merkel that acquired his master mechanic's sheepskin on 14th, 1929, so more research needs to be performed on this concern.