Saab meeting industry in Central Switzerland

On 22 May Defence and Security Company Saab met industrial companies in Luzern in order to present and discuss business opportunities in the Gripen E programme.

Saab recently visited Zurich and Geneva with the aim to inform regional manufacturers about the opportunities for Swiss Industrial Participation (SIP) and to find new business partners linked to the potential Swiss acquisition of 22 Gripen E fighters. A total of ten cities will be visited and on the Wednesday the turn had come to Luzern.

“It is important that the industry of Central Switzerland prepares itself in time to be ready, once the Gripen contract is signed“, says Felix Howald, director of Industrie- und Handelskammer Zentralschweiz, hosting the event in Luzern. We want to know about the possibilities of the Industrial Participation Programme and be part of it. I am convinced that it can generate added value in the region.”

Linked to the Swiss fighter acquisition Saab will be obliged to provide Swiss industry with business equal to the value of the Gripen contract. The Gripen programme presents business opportunities for both defence and non-defence industry. In parallel to the industrial tour, 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.“

One of the Swiss companies that are already doing SIP business initiated by Saab is FISBA OPIK from St. Gallen. It is a manufacturer of high-tech opticals for both civil and military industries. It has a business relation with Saab that started over 25 years ago. Still future business is not guaranteed.

“There is certainly a great deal of goodwill on the offset partner’s side to do business with a Swiss partner. But it would be very wrong to believe that this will happen no matter what the price is. It must be a business where all components are right, commercially, technically, and logistically. In short, it must be a win-win-partnership. And be prepared that a feasible business takes time,” says Hansjörg Lipp, head of business unit Optical Solutions for FISBA OPTIK.

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.    

“Compensation business makes sense when it generates turn-over on a sustainable basis“, says also Jean-Philippe Kohl, member of the board of swissmem, the association of the Swiss mechanical and electrical engineering industries. Then it can help to maintain and develop Swiss industries. Compensation business is, however, is not intended just for the defence industry but for a broad range of the industrial and technological base in Switzerland.”

For your information: Saab will attend additional industrial events in Payerne (27 May), Martigny and Hitzkirch (28 May), and St. Gallen (29 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.