Head of South African defense company Paramount has disclosed to Reuters that the company is in talks with Saudi authorities to set up a factory in the kingdom as it seeks expansion in the Middle East aside from Jordan where it is already present.
“We are in negotiations with various governments in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, with a view to transferring technology and establishing production in those countries,” the group’s chairman Ivor Ichikowitz told the news agency.
“We see the Middle East as an important growth market for us.”
The defense company, part of its current expansion policy, has set eyes on the Gulf region and the Middle East; a region embroiled in conflicts namely Syria and Yemen.
The choice of Saudi Arabia coincides with the kingdom’s plans to establish partnerships with global defense companies for its national military and defense company (Saudi Arabian Military Industries). The company was established two years ago in a bid to reduce Saudi Arabia’s defense spending.
The kingdom, the world largest weapons buyers, has been involved in the Yemen three-old conflict where it has been battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels, opposed to internationally recognized President Mansour Hadi.
The Johannesburg-based company manufactures a wide range of armored vehicles, military aircraft, and equipment and provides training to troops.
Outside the African continent, Paramount Group is present in several other countries including India and Jordan. It has also established partnership with Abu Dhabi-based International Golden Group.