Saab Gripen fighter plane

Saab looks to London for arms export boost

Swedish arms company Saab is to set up new sales headquarters in London as it bids for more business in Europe and the Middle East.

Best known perhaps for jet fighters such as the Gripen, defence and security company Saab – long since divorced from the troubled car-maker of the same name – plans to enlarge its London presence in order to boost sales outside its Swedish home.

Saab already has some 200 employees in the UK, where it provides weapons, training and ground-based radars to the UK armed forces. It now plans to use bodies such as UK Trade & Investment and to piggy-back on the success of the British arms industry as it bids for more export business.

"We are building further on our export successes by increasing our business in all respects, including more sales into UK from Sweden, more local growth with personnel across Europe and Greater Middle East," said Saab president and CEO Håkan Buskhe. "Our new marketing and sales operations centralised in the UK will help us establish an even stronger international foothold outside Sweden."

Nick Baird, chief executive of UK Trade & Investment, said the move was "testament to the strength of the UK's defence sector". He said that UKTI's Defence and Security Organisation had been closely involved in helping Saab develop export opportunities from the UK.

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