PIF-owned military arm SAMI eyes international expansion to accelerate global footprint, CEO says


RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Military Industries plans to expand globally in a bid to accelerate its rise into the top 25 defense companies in the world by 2030, according to its CEO.

“One of the key mandates is to be the top 25 company in the world by 2030. Our commitment to leadership is to beat that number. To be definitely more than 25,” Walid Abu Khaled told Arab News on the second day of the Future Aviation Forum held in Riyadh.

“So we'll hopefully be in the top 15 by 2030, or we'll be top 25 before 2030,” he said.

The company is looking to oversee opportunities in bid to beat original growth targets.

The focus is on the defense industry, on supporting the Saudi armed forces and their allies, and on delivering first class product and service to customers, SAMI CEO said.

“We might see some export opportunities very soon although my focus is, you know, for at least the next five years is 100 percent on the Saudi market. There will be opportunities and synergies between what we do here and what we can deliver to neighboring and allied countries,” he said.

In parallel, there will be some development programs where the company will work on developing Saudi products for use in the Kingdom, he said.

SAMI will probably add 1,000 employees to its current 2,600 team by the end of this year, according to its CEO.

“We are developing the best engineers you can find in the Kingdom when it comes to technology related to avionics aviation's communications.”

SAMI will play a key role in building the defense industry, and it will definitely serve the commercial industry, with the partnership of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus and others, he said.

The PIF-owned company has at least five operating divisions including aerospace, land, sea, said Abu Khaled.

There is also an advanced electronics and defense systems divisions offer support across all sections, he added.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most attractive markets globally when it comes to the defense industry, according to Abu Khaled, who said that other multinational companies have approached SAMI because of the attractive market of the Kingdom.

“In just four years, we became one of the top 100 defense companies in the world,” he said.

On potential listing of the company, Abu Khaled said it is a company goal, as it will allow everyone to benefit from its capabilities and growth.

“We continuously review this option, but in all honesty, it's not discussed at the board now, because we don't see it viable in the next couple of years,” he said.

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