Navantia returns Spain to the world ranking of large arms sellers in the heat of its business with Saudi Arabia

The war industry spreads millions to Navantia. In 2021, the Spanish public company once again occupied a line in the list of the 100 main arms companies in the world, and everything indicates that nothing will move it from that ranking: a few days before the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published this ranking, Navantia closed a new agreement with the Saudi dictatorship that will result in another five warships.

According to the SIPRI report to which he has had access Publicthe Spanish shipyard – belonging to the State Company of Industrial Participations (SEPI)which controls 100% of its capital – made arms sales in 2021 for a value of 1,080 million dollars, which places it in 91st place of this top 100.

Sales of weapons material by Navantia amounted to 1,080 million dollars, which represents an increase of 17% compared to the operations carried out in 2020, when it had been on the verge of accessing that ranking prepared by SIPRI.

Among the main clients of this Spanish company is the Saudi dictatorship. In 2018, the regime of Salman bin Abdulaziz –involved since 2015 in the attacks against Yemen– commissioned Navantia to build a total of five corvettes at the Cádiz shipyard of San Fernando. The amount of the agreement reached 1,800 million euros. According to the company, 6,000 jobs were created between direct and indirect jobs.

In a letter sent a few days ago to the Government, International Amnesty warned that these operations imply a violation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)which prevents the sale of materials of this type to countries involved in wars.

The human rights organization demanded that the Executive “revoke the licenses in force for the coalition headed by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, in particular those of aircraft, parts and components, ammunition and corvettes such as those that Navantia has to deliver to Saudi Arabia in the coming months, until the international coalition end the naval and air blockade of Yemen and impunity for the crimes committed under international law”.

It also demanded that it “suspend the supply of arms, ammunition and defense material associated with the coalition headed by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates as long as there remains a substantial risk that they could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international law.” To “mitigate the economic impact of this decision,” AI urged the government to create “a Defense Industry Conversion Task Force “.

However, the rain of millions will not stop. A few days ago, the official news agency of the Saudi dictatorship and Navantia announced simultaneously that the regime of Salman bin Abdulaziz had commissioned the Spanish company to build another five multi-mission combat ships.

The agreement was signed on Wednesday the 30th in Riyadh in the presence of the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, maroto kingsand the Saudi Defense Minister, Mohammed bin Salman. “The ships will be built jointly between Navantia, in the shipyard of San Fernandoand a shipyard in Saudi Arabia,” the company said in a statement.

world increase

At a global level, the report published by SIPRI indicates that “the sales of arms and military services of the 100 largest companies in the sector reached 592,000 million dollars in 2021, which represents an increase of 1.9% compared to 2020 in real terms”.

This increase “marked the seventh consecutive year of growth in global arms sales.” “However, although the growth rate in 2020-21 was higher than in 2019-20 (1.1%), it was still below the average of the four years prior to the covid-19 pandemic (3.7%)”, points out the report published in Stockholm and disseminated in Spain by FundiPau.

The document highlights that in 2021 “many sectors of the arms industry continued to be affected by pandemic-related disruptions in global supply chains, which led to delays in global shipments and shortages of essential components.”

“Even higher growth in arms sales could have occurred in 2021 if there had not been persistent problems in the supply chain,” he says. Lucie Béraud-Sudreaudirector of the SIPRI Military Expenditure and Arms Production Program.

Along these lines, “the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February 2022 has added more obstacles to those in the supply chain for arms companies, especially since Russia is a major supplier of raw materials used in their production” , the study points out.

European presence

Regarding the ranking, SIPRI points out that US companies dominate the top 100. “Arms sales by 40 US companies from the list amounted to 299,000 million dollars in 2021,” he says.

Likewise, in 2021 there were 27 companies based in Europe that were in that Top 100. “Their arms sales together increased by 4.2% compared to 2020, reaching 123,000 million dollars,” the report indicates.

“Most of the European companies specialized in the military aerospace sector declared losses in 2021, which they attributed to interruptions in the supply chain,” he points out for his part. Lorenzo Scarazatoresearcher at the SIPRI Military Expenditure and Weapons Production Program.

By contrast, “European shipbuilders appear to have been less affected by the consequences of the pandemic and were able to increase their sales in 2021,” Scarazzato added. It is the case of Navantiathe only Spanish company in the arms ranking.

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