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16 Apr, 2024 21:46

Ukraine conflict making Czech arms dealer rich

CSG has seen its profits surge after refurbishing old tanks to sell off to Ukraine
Ukraine conflict making Czech arms dealer rich

The owner and chairman of defense manufacturer, Czechoslovak Group (CSG), Michal Strnad, has become a billionaire, thanks to profits he has been reaping from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

The arms maker has seen revenues surge amid the conflict, with profits growing almost twofold in 2022 to around $1 billion and nearly doubling again last year, reaching $1.9 billion. One of the conglomerate’s divisions, Excalibur Army, has greatly contributed to the profits, manufacturing munitions as well as building new and refurbishing old Soviet-made weaponry.

Amid the conflict, the company has supplied some 100 refurbished T-72 main battle tanks to Kiev. CSG’s production of ammunition grew more than tenfold since the escalation in early 2022 of long-simmering hostilities between Moscow and Kiev, with its workforce nearly tripling to 10,000 across manufacturing sites in eight countries, Bloomberg noted.

The arms maker is looking forward to benefiting from the Russia-Ukraine conflict for years to come and appears to be very open about that. The highest demand observed since the end of the Cold War for weapons in Europe is here to stay, Strnad believes.

“Even if the war were to end tomorrow, it would take years to replenish the empty stocks, not to mention the push to boost defense spending and ramp up production,” Strnad said, as quoted by Bloomberg. “I am confident there will be strong demand for a long time to come.”

The company was originally founded by Strnad’s father, Jaroslav, in 1995, who originally sought to procure decommissioned military hardware from members of the defunct Warsaw Pact – the newly-admitted NATO states – to scrap them and sell for profit. The true profit, however, turned out to be in dealing in arms as they were, with the company promptly discovering high demand for spares as well as for refurbished items of Soviet-era military hardware.