UAE's Edge buys defence company Trust to strengthen its portfolio

Agreement will allow organisations to share manufacturing methods and expertise

Edge is focused on boosting the Emirates’ local defence manufacturing capabilities. Photo: Edge
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UAE-based defence conglomerate Edge has bought Trust International Group, an Emirates-based defence trading specialist, as it continues to expand its portfolio.

Founded in 2004, Trust supplies solutions to the UAE Armed Forces and security establishments. It will join Edge within its trading and mission support cluster.

The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

The agreement will allow the organisations to share manufacturing methods and expertise, as well as support Trust to expand its talent base and capabilities for further international reach, the entities said in a statement.

“As we rapidly expand our defence trading scope, we believe that acquiring Trust is a logical step towards strengthening sovereign capabilities, extending our supply chain and broadening our opportunities for further growth,” Mansour Al Mulla, managing director and chief executive of Edge, said.

Set up in 2019, Edge specialises in building advanced technology for weapons systems, cyber protection and electronic warfare, with more than 25 companies under its umbrella.

It has been expanding its portfolio as the UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, focuses on boosting its local defence manufacturing capabilities and diversifying its economy away from oil.

The UAE's Operation 300 billion strategy seeks to increase the contribution of the local industrial sector to the country's gross domestic product to Dh300 billion ($81.68 billion) by 2031, from Dh133 billion in 2021.

In June 2022, the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, the Emirates Development Bank and Edge signed an agreement to boost manufacturing in the defence sector.

Under the agreement, EDB will provide financing of up to Dh1 billion to accelerate the industrialisation of Edge’s offerings, while the ministry will support Edge to expand global exports of more than 40 domestically-manufactured products and services.

Last month, Edge also acquired a majority stake in Abu Dhabi-based Gradeone, which specialises in manufacturing non-lethal pyrotechnics, ammunition, defence-related components, packing solutions and defence trading.

The same month, it also bought a majority stake in Estonia's Milrem Robotics to develop capabilities in robotics and autonomous systems in line with the UAE's expanding manufacturing sector.

“By combining our strengths, resources and networks, Edge and Trust can create a more powerful force in the industry and deliver excellent value to customers and stakeholders,” Ahmed Ibrahim, chief executive of Trust, said.

As a military supplier, Trust helps with capability needs assessments, requirement identification, acquisition support and maintenance, repair and overhaul service provision, the statement said.

It also specialises in logistics and supply chain services for land, aerial, maritime and unmanned systems.

Updated: March 27, 2023, 12:22 PM