The multimission frigate 'Mohammed VI' in Brest, western France, where it was handed over to Morocco. (Agence France-Presse)
PARIS — French arms exports last year rose to almost €6.3 billion (US $8.6 billion), or 30 percent up from €4.8 billion in 2012, helped by sales to the Middle East, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Jan. 30.
The “excellent results” were helped by eight “major contracts” compared with three in the previous year, Le Drian said.
A major sale is one above €200 million.
Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Morocco were among the three biggest clients last year, with the Middle East accounting for 40 percent of the orders, he said.
Le Drian made the remarks at the official handover at DCNS Brest shipyard, northern France, of the multimission frigate, Mohammed VI, to the Moroccan authorities. France sold the warship for €470 million, business magazine Usine Nouvelle reported.
Morocco bought a single frigate, seen as a token gesture after buying in 2007 the Lockheed Martin F-16 and rejecting the Dassault Rafale fighter. That unexpected order for the US competitor sent shockwaves through Paris, which viewed the former French protectorate as a secure market. ■