Europe, Russia arms groups gain market share in 2015: study

Europe, Russia arms groups gain market share in 2015: study

Stockholm (AFP) - Arms manufacturers in Europe and Russia gained market share in 2015, but international sales were still dominated by their US competitors, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said Monday.

For Russian industrialists, the growth underlined "the ministry of defence's commitment to fund military procurement despite the economic difficulties," said the research centre, which consists of experts on defence issues.

But although Russian exports increased by 6.2 percent over 2014, the rate was "significantly slower than the 48.4 percent growth rate between 2013 and 2014," it said.

SIPRI ranks the world's top 100 arms and military service merchants, excluding China, which does not deliver reliable data.

Western nations monopolise the top 12 places in the ranking with US defence contractor Lockheed Martin leading with $36.4 billion in revenues, US defence and aerospace giant Boeing with $28 billion, and Britain's BAE Systems with $25.5 billion.

Total sales fell by 0.6 percent, dropping for the fifth consecutive year, but reached $370.7 billion, SIPRI said.

North American arms manufacturers remained dominant but their turnover fell by 2.9 percent because of ongoing limitations on government spending, including military spending and the strength of the US dollar that weighed on exports.

But groups in Western Europe saw an upsurge with growth of 6.6 percent, reversing a negative trend. Such firms control 25.8 percent of the market compared with 8.1 percent held by the Russians.

"Major arms export deals in 2015, such as those to Egypt and Qatar, have increased French arms companies' sales," said Aude Fleurant, Director of Research on Armaments and Military Expenditures.

The growth of six French firms in the top 100 companies, among them Dassault, Thales and Safran, pushed up arms sales by 13.1 percent, outpacing German manufacturers who notched up an increase of 7.4 percent and British companies with 2.8 percent.

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