Abu Dhabi's Edge signs $1bn agreement with Ukrainian defence companies

Deal comes ahead of next week's Idex and Navdex conferences expected to attract about 900 exhibitors

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2/19/19, International Defence Exhibition & Conference 2019 (IDEX) day 3. -- Calidus Wahash APC.
Victor Besa / The National.
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UAE defence conglomerate Edge signed an agreement with state-owned Ukranian military companies UkrOboronProm and Ukrspecexport to exchange and develop advanced technologies, leading to investments worth more than $1 billion.

The signing took place at Emirates Palace in the UAE capital during the official visit of the Ukrainian president to the UAE.

"Signing this tri-party agreement demonstrates our intent to cooperate with leading international companies within the defence industry," Faisal Al Bannai, chief executive and managing director of Edge, said in a joint statement on Monday.

UkrOboronProm, established in 2010, is a Ukraine state-owned defence conglomerate of more than 100 companies involved in the development and manufacturing of arms and military equipment, as well as scientific research.

Ukrspecexport is also state-owned. It makes arms, ammunition, military equipment, spare parts and explosives, as well as manufacturing equipment. It also services and repairs arms and military equipment for foreign buyers.

The collaboration was agreed ahead of next week’s International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) and the Naval Defence & Martime Security Exhibition (Navdex), which organisers said on Monday will attract a record number of exhibitors and participating countries.

The five-day event, which starts on Sunday, is expected to witness "more or less" the same amount of deals as the 2019 event, during which Dh20.5bn ($5.58bn) worth of deals were signed.

“[Deals] will be announced based on a decision by a special committee on a daily basis,” said Saeed bin Khadim Al Mansoori, executive director of Capital Events, an Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre group company.

Overall, about 900 exhibitors from more than 50 nations are due to take part in the 2021 edition. The UAE, the US, Saudi Arabia, China and France will have the largest pavilions, according to the organisers. North Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, and Portugal will be participating in the event for the first time.

Israel, which was meant to participate in the event for the first time following its normalisation of ties with the UAE last year, will not be participating due to Covid-19 curbs on travel, Reuters reported on Monday citing officials from Israel's Defence Ministry and Regional Cooperation Ministry.

“This edition marks the commencement of the recovery phase from the Covid-19 pandemic, in spite of the ongoing global conditions,” Major-General Staff Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, chairman of the higher organising committee for Idex and Navdex, said. “It will demonstrate how Abu Dhabi and the UAE are ready and able to organise, deliver and host leading international events.”