Abu Dhabi

African defence firm Paramount Group has plans for a manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia within the next two years, its founder and executive chairman said.

“It will be in partnership with local partners — investment will be in hundreds of millions of dollars and some of it will come from ourselves as well as from Saudi partners,” said Ivor Ichikowitz.

“We believe in the 2030 strategy that Saudi Arabia has adopted, we fully appreciate and agree with the local manufacturing programmer, and we are in negotiations to participate in that.”

The company will initially focus on defence vehicles and maritime products. At Idex 2019, Paramount secured a contract with the UAE Armed Forces for the newly-launched Mbombe 4 armoured vehicle.

The company also has plans for a manufacturing plant in the UAE and partner local firms. “The region has become more and more important to us and represents a significant portion of our sales. We are hoping to increase sales by 10 per cent year-on-year.

“The region is becoming much easier place to do business. Governments in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have a clear interest to establish domestic defence industry capabilities. That fits Paramount’s portable manufacturing model perfectly.”

The Saudi Arabian Military Industries that was set up in 2017 expects to contribute over 14 billion riyals ($3.7 billion) to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product, with an investment of over 6 billion riyals ($1.6 billion). It signed deals with Mubadala Investment company as well as with French firm Naval group (to build warships) during Idex.