Saab meeting Geneva industry

On 15 May Defence and security company Saab met industrial companies in Geneva in order to present and discuss business opportunities in the Gripen E programme.

Linked to the potential Swiss acquisition of 22 Gripen E fighters, Saab is obliged to provide Swiss industry with business equal to the value of the Gripen contract, through so-called Swiss Industrial Participation (SIP).

«My impression is that Saab is very active to present good results already today. The Suisse Romande has a lot of industrial competence. However, quite many SMEs work as subcontractors and it will be important for the larger companies to flow down their contracts to subcontractors in Switzerland», says Jean-Luc Michoud, Vice president of GRPM (Groupe Romand pour le Matériel de Défense et de Sécurité) and director LPS Services SA. 

Over the coming weeks, Saab is visiting additional locations across Switzerland, including in the French and Italian speaking parts of Switzerland. The aim is to inform regional manufacturers about the opportunities for industrial participation and to find new business partners. The Gripen programme presents business opportunities for both defence and non-defence industry. At the same time, Saab specialists are visiting targeted companies directly in order to deepen cooperation or develop new business relationships.

« We look for long-term, commercially viable business partnerships with a sustainable impact. It is one of the criteria specified by armasuisse. The work has to be carried out systematically and with great detail, which also takes time, » says Henry Johansson, Vice President Gripen Switzerland. « Upon signature of the Gripen contract, Saab has ten years to deliver its offset obligation. »

Two of the Swiss companies that are already doing SIP business initiated by Saab are Cleanfizz and Volotek. Cleanfizz has invented a self-cleaning system for solar panels for which it sees a great market potential in both desert and arctic countries. Volotek, who has the same owners, is a manufacturer of high tech components that are among other used by CERN in Geneva.

« We had our first contact with Saab in 2007 and have now signed a contract that will give us access to new export markets. Saab has presented us with potential partners, and then it was our task to convince them that we are suitable partner. Things don’t happen by themselves, you need to be very active and persistent.»

By the end of 2012, Saab had realized SIP business worth 250 million francs and is committed to deliver SIP of at least 300 million before the Gripen contract is signed. The company also recently announced that it will extend its Swiss Gripen supplier base to develop and produce major components of the Gripen E aircraft – rear fuselage, pylons (weapon stations), tail cone, air brakes and external fuel “drop” tanks. The contract value of this work amounts to 200 million CHF and 500,000 man-hours of work.    

« I strongly believe in the competence of the industry in the French speaking part of Switzerland. While we only account for 25 per cent of the population, we account for 30 per cent of the economic power. We have a lot of service orientated companies, but we also have state-of-the-art industry », says Nicolas Aune of the Union Industrielle Genevoise.  

For your information: Saab will attend additional industrial events in Payerne and Martigny on 27 and 28 May.

Read more about the Saab´s Industrial Programme for Switzerland.

For further information:

Saab Switzerland, Communication & Marketing
+41 79 777 40 30, Mike Helmy,

Saab Press Office
+46 734 180 018

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.