The Paramount Group’s recent acquisition of specialist vehicle design company IAD is one of the moves the company has made to boost its design and innovation capacity, in order to continue its expanding momentum in land systems.
John Craig, Chief Executive Officer of Paramount, told defenceWeb that, “The acquisition of IAD continues Paramount’s culture of innovation and our constant desire to offer the market and our customers the best and most advanced technologies available.” The order book is growing and over the last five years Paramount has seen a 25% year on year growth in business. Paramount as a whole should see more growth this year, Craig told defenceWeb.
This will come from both land systems and aerospace, which each make up around 50% of Paramount’s business. Sales are very healthy, Craig said, with the company expanding into the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America. Africa, of course, is “clearly our natural home market.”
Paramount in December 2012 acquired the South African company Industrial Automotive Design (IAD), which specialises in vehicle design. Craig said that IAD has been active in the Middle East and is well respected there. He added that IAD is more of a design bureau rather than a production and support organisation. “IAD concentrated on vehicle design. Their footprint is different and complimentary to Paramount.”
Craig said that IAD has developed some prototypes based on regional market requirements and that Paramount will take those forward and give them momentum. Paramount only entered the vehicles sector in 2007 but is already planning to expand its vehicle lineup. “There’s more to come,” Craig said, as there are “gaps in the product range”.
Vehicles in the land systems stable include the Mbombe 6×6 armoured fighting vehicle, Marauder mine protected vehicle, Matador mine protected vehicle, Maverick internal security vehicle and Marauder Patrol. The latter was unveiled last year as a protected utility vehicle aimed at the police, special forces and peacekeepers. At the moment, “The Marauder is one of our best sellers. We can’t produce them fast enough,” Craig said.
Apart from vehicles and aerospace, Paramount also provides finance solutions, has investments in electronic systems, communications, and command and control systems. The company is involved in peace support operations, providing things like deployable clinics, workshops, camps, bases etc. “In Africa especially, peace support operations are a growing thing,” Craig said. “We are supporting a number of governments to grow their peace support competence.”
Paramount also works with its partners on weapons systems, turrets and the like. One area of Paramount’s business that does not receive much attention is its correctional services offering. Craig said there is big demand from governments to put up new prisons, refurbish old facilities and provide rehabilitation programmes. However, this is only a small part of Paramount and accounts for less than 10% of the company’s business.
In addition to IAD, Paramount has a couple of other acquisitions underway in the maritime and aerospace sectors but will only release details later. “We have our hands full at the moment with acquisitions,” Craig said, adding that there were no immediate plans for more acquisitions.