International Golden Group (IGG), a UAE-based defence company, which has signed over Dh700 million in deals this week at Idex 2017 — a regional defence expo, is targeting an expansion in to the wider Gulf region this year, according to the company’s Chairman, retired Lieutenant General Mohammad Hilal Al Kaabi.

“We plan to expand to the GCC, specifically Saudi Arabia, very soon. We have partners that are participating with us, and we are exchanging ideas and information with other groups, so more agreements are in the pipeline,” Al Kaabi said in an interview on Thursday. “We have a cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia, and we’re trying to promote our companies there,” he added.

The group already has a partnership with Saudi-based company Automotive Development, who produce military vehicles.

Through its holdings in Ajman, IGG has already entered in to multiple joint ventures with foreign companies, such as French company Photonis, South African company Denel and Chinese company Norinco.

“We have built an industrial city there,” Al Kaabi said. “We have an integration facility, a maintenance repair facility, and professional training for special forces, which employ virtual reality systems, among other things.”

The industrial city is approximately 60,000 square metres, with 20 factories in total, all operating under IGG, according to Al Kaabi.

All of the company’s holdings in Ajman are based on joint ventures, with IGG owning 51 per cent of the factories, and the remaining 49 per cent owned by international companies.

“Hopefully we’ll have something with set up with Saab soon in Ajman, plus we’ll have more companies from South Africa, for building and maintaining artillery.”

Boomeranger, a Finnish special operations boat company, who were wholly acquired in 2015 by IGG, have developed a prototype boat with UAE Armed Forces that was on display at Idex this week.

“This prototype has a big potential for the Middle East. We are looking at transferring the whole Boomeranger operation from Finland to Ajman,” he said.

After signing a letter of intent with Estonian company Milrem at Idex this week, Al Kaabi also confirmed that unmanned ground vehicles were an increasing priority.

“IGG will begin to invest more heavily in UGVs,” he said. “This development will take place in Ajman.”