, Dec 6 () –
The coronavirus pandemic has not been a brake on the international arms market, since the one hundred largest companies in the world closed contracts worth 531,000 million dollars (about 470,000 million euros) in 2020, 1.3 percent. one hundred more than the previous year, according to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Large companies have thus chained six consecutive years of growth in their sales and, if the data for 2015 are taken as a reference – the first in which SIPRI included Chinese firms in its report – the commercial volume has increased by 17 percent. one hundred in just five years.
The United States historically tops this list, since since 2018 the top five positions in the ‘ranking’ are occupied by North American companies. The 41 U.S. companies included generated sales of $ 285 billion, 54 percent of the cumulative total for the top 100 firms and 1.9 percent more than in 2019.
Chinese companies are in second place, with accumulated sales between five of them amounting to 66.800 million dollars, 1.5 percent more, while the British are in third position, since their seven representations moved 37.500 million dollars in 2020.
In total, there are 26 European companies among the main arms firms in the world and between them accumulate 21 percent of the total value of the contracts, with about 109,000 million dollars in total, according to this study. However, only one European, the British BAE Systems, is among the ten largest and the six French firms accumulated falls of 7.7 percent.
GIANTS “PROTECTED” BY GOVERNMENTS
Experts have highlighted the particularities of each market – in the United States mergers and acquisitions prevail and in China military modernization and collaboration with the civil sector gain weight – but what they do agree on is that the arms sector seems to have remained on the sidelines of the rectors.
Alexandra Marksteiner, a researcher from SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Program, has pointed out that “the giants of the industry were largely protected by the sustained demand for military goods and services by governments.” In fact, in much of the world “military spending grew and some governments even accelerated payments to the arms industry to mitigate the impact of the crisis.”
However, SIPRI has also included in its study cases such as that of the French manufacturer Thales, which attributed its fall in 2020 – of 5.8 percent – to the interruptions decreed in spring to contain the first wave of the pandemic. Additionally, some companies reported supply chain disruptions and delivery delays.