| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Saudi Arabia concludes inaugural defence show with $7.9bn in deals

Saudi Arabia’s maiden World Defence Show ended with transactions worth $29.7 billion Saudi riyals ($7.9 billion), demonstrating the kingdom’s commitment to its defense sector.

The event, which was organized by the kingdom’s General Authority for Military Industries, or Gami, focused on “defence interoperability.” According to Gami, it attracted 80 military delegations and 65,000 guests from 85 nations.

The Ministry of Investment inked 12 agreements with corporations on Monday to boost defense industry investment and localize military expenditures.

The signatories included aerospace and defense technology business L3Harris Technologies and South Korean video surveillance company Hanwha, according to the government.

On Monday, Raytheon Saudi Arabia announced that it will produce components for its Patriot air and missile defense system in the kingdom.

Leonardo, LigNex 1, Norinco, the Naval Group, Expal Systems, Steel Core Designs, Al Hokair Group, Milkor, MacJee, CBC, and Glock are among the other firms that have inked agreements with the ministry.

The amount of the transactions was not disclosed by the ministry.

“The World Military Show platform’s networking, knowledge-sharing, and commercial ties will spark a new age of investment and growth for Saudi Arabia’s defence and security industry,” said Gami governor Ahmad Al-Ohali.

He said the expo “reflects the kingdom’s role as a worldwide engine of collaboration, innovation, and commercial prospects,” with 600 defense and security exhibitors from 42 nations.

Gami, as the Saudi Arabian defense sector’s regulator, enabler, and licensor, said it collaborated with partners to assess contracts announced during the exhibition, completing a rigorous study of technical requirements to assure expenditure efficiency and operational preparedness.

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s biggest spenders on defense, wants to localize more than half of its military spending by 2030.

The move is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic transformation program, which aims to expand the kingdom’s industrial base, generate employment, and reduce its dependency on oil revenue.

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (Sami) was established in 2017 by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, as part of a larger effort to boost the country’s defense industry.

Sami inked finance deals for 7 billion riyals with Saudi banks on Wednesday.

The agreements with Saudi National Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, and Gulf International Bank would assist the corporation fund future initiatives in the defense industry, including localization, infrastructure expansion, acquisitions, and working capital finance.

“These agreements will help us achieve our main objectives and future initiatives, as well as expand and widen the scope of our activities,” Sami CEO Walid Abukhaled said.

“Through Sami, this agreement will also aid PIF’s efforts to localize cutting-edge technology and expertise, as well as to form important economic relationships.”

According to Sami’s chief financial officer Mater Alenazi, the company will continue to form agreements with local and international lenders to fund “many of our initiatives in the near future” that aim to improve Saudi Arabia’s defense industries sector.

Sami, which works via five divisions, intends to reach $5 billion in yearly revenues by 2025 and become one of the world’s top 25 defense businesses.

Abukhaled told The National last year that the business intends to win additional contracts in the kingdom, form strategic collaborations with leading industry players, and acquire more local targets.

  • The National News