WARSAW, (BM) – The Swedish foundation SIPRI published the largest defense industry companies’ sales results in the world for 2019, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. The balance of power among the 25 largest tycoons has changed slightly. With some increase in the share of the Chinese industry and Russia’s further decline, Americans and Western Europe dominated. However, much more was sold than in 2018, before the epidemic and the international tensions that came with it.
Compared to the same period a year earlier, the increase in the value of arms sales in the world was 8.5%. At that time, the 25 largest defense companies in the world sold weapons with a total value of USD 361 billion.
The changes in the world’s top 25 reflect world trends. American companies still dominate the market, occupying first place in the ranking. Lockheed Martin is still the dominator, with sales of USD 53.23 billion, which increased sales by 11 percent compared to the previous year. The next places do Boeing took [$ 33.58 billion, up 2.7%], Northrop Grumman [$ 29.22 billion, up 9.6%], Raytheon [$ 25.32 billion, up by 6.1 percent], and General Dynamics [$ 24.5 billion, an increase of 9.4 percent].
Only the sixth place is taken by the non-American company, which this year lost fifth place to General Dynamics. The Chinese aviation corporation AVIC [Aviation Industry Corporation from China] sold for 22.47 billion USD, which meant an increase “only” by 2.9 percent. Behind it is the first Western European company – British BAE Systems strongly associated with the Americans [USD 22.24 billion, an increase of 7.6%]. It is following by another Chinese company – CETC [China Electronics Technology Group Corporation], whose revenue increased by 11% [to USD 15.09 billion]. It is followed by Chinese NORINCO, whose revenues fell by 0.3% to $ 14.54 billion. They are followed by other American companies L3Harris Technologies [$ 13.9 billion], which made its debut in the Top 25 due to the merger of L3 and Harris and United Technologies Corporation [UTC] with $ 13.1 billion and a massive increase of 38 percent.
As you can see, the largest increases were recorded by entities dealing with typically electronic solutions and connectivity. It was confirmed by the most substantial company in the arms sector in the European Union in 2019. Leonardo Group is with the result of USD 11.11 billion and sales increase by 18%. This year, Leonardo has overtaken Airbus, which saw a 1.3% drop [in defense] up to $ 11.05 billion. Russian companies also recorded losses. The revenues of the best of them – Ałmaz Antiej – fell by 3.7 percent to $ 9.47 billion, which pushed the ranking down from 12th to 15th place. The Russian United Shipbuilding Corporation also fell from 21st to 25th position, to USD 4.5 billion. The third Russian company, United Aircraft Corporation, saw its revenues drop by $ 1.3 billion and dropped out of the ranking altogether.
However, we should remember that Russian companies’ potential – despite the recorded declines – should not be underestimated. It is so because low labor costs characterize the Russian market. The fact that revenues are declining does not mean that programs for the Russian army and export customers are not implemented – they extend overtime or have a slightly smaller scope.
An interesting fact is entering the ranking of the first company in the Middle East’s history – it is the EDGE concern formed from 25 companies from … the United Arab Emirates. SIPRI ranked the company 22nd with revenues of $ 4.75 billion. Suddenly, the report also included the French Dassault in the ranking due to the implementation of numerous export contracts for Rafale fighters in 2019 [sold to Egypt, Qatar, and India] and a deal implemented for France.
The company’s success and the relative strengthening of Chinese companies’ position are explained by the high demand for their markets and the desire to become independent from abroad. The same trend may be seen as the causes of the weakening of Russian companies, which can count on ever-smaller orders from the Russian Federation’s armed forces, and at the same time have an increasingly limited set of competitive solutions that could be offered abroad. The American embargo on Russian arms production and the growing competition, especially from Chinese companies, is also necessary.
To sum up, in 2019, 61 percent of the 25 largest defense industry concerns in the world. The Americans, 18 percent, controlled the market. Western European countries, and only 16 percent. The Chinese and 3.9 percent Russians. Added to this is 1.3 percent—a company founded in the UAE. Considering the events of the last 12 months, the data collected by SIPRI may soon become obsolete, given the changing economic and political situation in the world. Many countries began to invest in the domestic defense industry and place orders to protect it against collapse. On the other hand, the chances of obtaining export contracts have decreased.
However, in the current situation, it is unknown whether reliable data on corporate revenues can be collected from some countries around the world, although, in the People’s Republic of China, they were always rather untrustworthy. Until recently, they were merely secret. We should also remember that the Top 25 ranking is not entirely representative. Important and remaining important players from countries such as Israel, India, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Canada, and Australia do not “catch.”
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