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LAAD 2011: Paramount sees potential in regional market
As part of its aggressive pursuit of the armoured vehicle market relative newcomer Paramount Group announced at LAAD that two of its vehicles would be trialled by governments in the region and that it expected to see at least one procurement decision in the region in a matter of months.
The South African company is one of the largest privately-owned defence and aerospace companies in Africa and believes that its advanced armoured vehicles can be successful on the wider international stage. The company recently exhibited at IDEX in Abu Dhabi to access the Middle East Market and Latin America is seen as another logical area of interest.
'We are validating our business model. It's a global world and we think that there can also be globalisation in defence manufacturing,' CEO John Craig told Shephard.
The vehicles being trialled in South America are Maverick, an internal security vehicle designed for use by police and other law enforcement organisations, and the Marauder, an advanced mine protected armoured vehicle. 'We chose these two vehicles as the logical ones for this market. In terms of things that attract attention internal security vehicles are important as local law enforcement needs to up its game and increase capacity with a number of events of global significance in the next few years,' Craig stated.
Following the exhibition the vehicles will begin trials in Brazil and then will also be trialled by another country in the region. 'We will have to see where it takes us we may end up doing something of a roadshow in the region,' he added.
Company officials said that Paramount is already in discussion with Latin American governments about its armoured vehicle technology and the selected vehicles will be trialled by both defence forces and internal security forces. The company added that the successful outcome of these trials could lead to Paramount Group setting up manufacturing facilities in the region.
Craig sees the establishment of local manufacturing capability as one of the Paramount Group's key capabilities. The company proved its capability in this area by setting up a production line for its Marauder and Matador vehicles in Azerbaijan after a large order from the country.
Craig said the company continued to see a lot of value in the developing world market where smaller requirements may be more normal. 'We will always have customers in the developing world and if they only want 20 or 30 vehicles we won't say no. That is core to our business.'
Paramount's CEO stressed that in the last six years the company has past the test and become a fully operational developer and manufacturer of armoured vehicles. That success has been highlighted by the organisation of a separate vehicle division within the Paramount Group, which also specialises in defence electronics and aerospace products. 'We have the almost unique privilege of being a late entrant to the market,' Craig suggested.
That late entry allowed the company to start with a blank sheet and develop a product line for where it saw the real demands for both the security and defence markets. That started with a number of law enforcement vehicles and a range of mine protected vehicles before moving on to more sophisticated APCs.
Craig was keen to highlight the success of the company's recent exhibition of its Mbombe APC, renamed for the international market, at IDEX in February, alongside its local partner, International Golden Group. He said that the vehicle had a lot of interest from the United Arab Emirates government and that the company would be taking it back to the country to perform hot weather trials.
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