Volvo announced Thursday the acquisition by its subsidiary Renault Trucks Defense of manufacturer of light armored Panhard, undermining the long-awaited consolidation in the sector of the French land armament.
The transaction, whose amount is not specified, is expected to close in the fourth quarter once the agreement of French authorities, the Swedish automaker said in a statement.
Panhard achieved in 2011 a turnover of 81 million euros and an operating profit of 9.4 million, and employs approximately 300 people.
The acquisition, which allows Renault Trucks Defense broaden its range to the light armored vehicles, gives birth to a whole new face Nexter, the manufacturer of the Leclerc tanks in which Thales might take an interest.
Nexter, who had discussed merger with RTD and Panhard last year, turned to groups outside France, as the German Rheinmettal and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), the Italian Oto Melara (Finmeccanica) and the Finnish Patria.
Market consolidation of land armament in France or in Europe, seems more desirable to face international competition in the race for contracts in emerging markets when defense budgets are shrinking in Europe.
RTD, which displays a backlog of 1.2 billion euros, of which two-thirds in France, hopes to eventually generate half its revenue from exports.
Renault Trucks division had said in June expect a turnover of 700 million euros in 2015 against 300 million in 2011 thanks to an acceleration of its export sales and marketing of new tanks.
Panhard, a specialist in light armored vehicle (LAV), of which 2,300 are in service in 16 countries, is the smallest of the three major industry players in France, with a turnover of just under 100 million euros in 2011, ten times less than Nexter.
Panhard was bought in 2005 to PSA by the manufacturer of 4x4 Auverland, Christian Mons led since 2001 after more than ten years with Thomson-CSF, which resulted in Thales. The range of Auverland was integrated with that of Panhard armored specializing in up to 12 tons.
The Cohen family owns 83% of Panhard, Christian Mons 10% and the investor Pierre Delmas balance.Asian Defence News