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SAMI, Spain's Navantia Plan Combat Management Systems Venture

SAMI, Spain's Navantia Plan Combat Management Systems Venture

Monday, 18 February, 2019 - 10:30
A general view of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) exhibit is seen during the International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates February 17, 2019. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

State-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) signed an agreement on Monday with Spanish state-held shipbuilder Navantia to set up a joint venture to provide combat systems, the new partnership’s chief executive said on Monday.

The SANNI venture, the name of which stands for SAMI Navantia Naval Industries, will integrate and adapt Navantia’s combat management systems for Saudi navy corvette ships, said Antonio Barberan at the IDEX military exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

SAMI owns 51 percent of SANNI, with Navantia holding the remaining 49 percent.

In November SAMI and Navantia signed an agreement to jointly manufacture five corvettes for the Saudi navy.

SAMI Chief Executive Andreas Schwer told Reuters on Monday that the group aims to generate $10 billion in revenue over the next five years.

SAMI, owned by the Public Investment Fund, wants exports to account for 30 percent of its revenue by 2030.

The company, established in May 2017, seeks to localize 50 percent of military spending by 2030 as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil revenue.

“By 2030 SAMI will be more than just a regional player. We will be a truly global player, to be among the top 10 companies,” Schwer said. “We won’t serve only the domestic market. We will generate 30 percent of revenues from export markets by 2030.”

He said Saudi Arabia has a $70 billion annual defense budget plus a $30 billion security-related budget from other ministries.

Schwer said SAMI had signed 19 joint venture deals with companies from Western Europe, the United States, Asia, and South Africa since 2018 and planned to sign 25 to 30 more in the next five years.

SAMI also planned to build a company in the kingdom as part of a joint venture with Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala to build aircraft components for commercial and military uses. A foreign partner could join the venture.

“We are looking to acquire other existing assets as a technology provider,” Schwer said.

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