Armoured vehicle specialist Streit Group has inaugurated its new office in Egypt, which will support the Egyptian security forces’ Streit fleet through the provision of technical and administrative support.
Streit Group Chairman , Guerman Goutorov, has expressed a keen interest in the Egyptian market and indicated his intention to become a leading provider of armoured vehicles in the region. Streit announced the opening of the office last month.
Streit Group late last year told defenceWeb it has ambitious plans for its business in Africa. Goutorov said he wanted to diversify and for Streit to become a “360 degree protection and security” equipment and services provider. It is in the African market where he sees major opportunities for expansion.
In search of business, Goutorov has travelled extensively on the continent and said if there are sufficient vehicle sales Streit may invest in a plant. “You look at many countries in Africa – they need airport security, they need air traffic control, they need, they need, they need everything. We want to serve a full package to these countries as some countries are very low on security,” he said.
Today Streit has 12 factories, located in Canada, UAE, USA, Iraq, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Thailand. Its vehicles have been exported to countries around the world and in Africa are known to be in service with forces in Libya (mostly Spartan APCs but some Typhoons), Nigeria (Spartan), South Sudan (Typhoon) and Egypt (riot control vehicles for the Egyptian Interior Ministry).
In the African market, Goutorov believes Streit has an advantage in not being a European or US company. “Africans in general don’t want to deal with Europe because they feel the Europeans want control and they don’t want to deal with the US or Chinese. They want independence and that’s really where we come from. We’re not European and not US, and the prices are right,” said Goutorov.
Streit’s main vehicle offerings are in the lighter range of armoured vehicles, which is the current growth sector in the military vehicle industry. The company produces 18 military models, with over 25 variants, ranging from 4.2 tons to 22 tons.
The threat of internal instability from riots and groups such as Al Qaeda and Boko Haram is helping drive African defence sales, Goutorov said. “So water cannons and anti-riot system are really common now” in his company’s sales to African countries. Last year Streit sold 480 special purpose vehicles for riot control to an unidentified North African customer.
He said Streit is now looking for a strategic partner on the continent to establish an assembly plant and drive sales. The idea is that vehicle kits for assembly would initially be sent and then, as business evolves, a greater manufacturing element would be initiated.
Sales to Africa and the Middle East have helped boost revenue with a number of long awaited sales. One of these was a contract with an undisclosed African country for 200 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) which will be sold out of stock. Later, 350 armoured commercial vehicles including 4x4s and luxury vehicles will be delivered under the deal.
It is known that Streit has sold eight Typhoon 4×4 MRAPS to Libya as these were on a shipment of armoured vehicles seized by Greek customs in July that were cleared for delivery by the United Nations in December. Military sales to Libya are subject to approval by the UN Security Council.
Last year, Streit sold 160 Typhoon Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to an African customer for a UN mission. In other African business, the company partnered with the Nigerian Armed Forces to develop the Igirigi, which was based on the Streit Spartan APC platform.
In spite of growth, it has not all been plain sailing for Streit. In November last year Streit USA, two of its executive officers and its UAE affiliates were charged with export control violations for exporting vehicles to Canada that were subsequently re-exported without proper re-export authorisation. The parties agreed to $3.5 million in penalties, with $1.5 million of that suspended.