PARIS ― Nexter’s orders last year were worth about €869 million more than the previous year’s, according to Stéphane Mayer, the chairman and CEO of the French land weapons company.
Nexter received orders last year worth €1.64 billion (U.S. $2.04 billion), up from €771 million in the year prior.
“It was a very good year,” he said Feb. 6 at a news conference. The orders were the company’s highest in more than 20 years, buoyed by deals sealed with clients including Denmark, Indonesia and France.
Exports accounted for 58 percent of 2017 orders, down from 60 percent, with domestic deals accounting for the balance. Sales for 2017 are undergoing validation, and this would also be a big increase on the previous year, he said.
Nexter is waiting to see the British requirement for its mechanized infantry vehicle program, he said. The French company and its German partner, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, will decide whether to pitch either the VBCI or Boxer, or both armored vehicles depending on details of the British request.
The British Army knows the VBCI well, as it made an appearance in a military exercise last year, Mayer said.
The VBCI and Boxer compete in the market for an eight-wheel drive armored vehicle, a rare case of internal competition in the KNDS joint venture, he said.
A Belgian order is expected later this year on a fleet of Griffon multirole troop carriers and Jaguar combat and reconnaissance vehicles, following a letter of intent signed last year, he said. Nexter also expects a contract from Qatar on its VBCI fighting vehicle.
Nexter is “still waiting” for a French selection in a tender for a Light VBMR armored vehicle, with an initial 400 units to be ordered, rising to 1,900 including options, he said. Industry sources have said France picked Nexter, beating Renault Trucks Defense, a key unit of Swedish truck-maker Volvo.
Nexter expects to deliver the first three Griffons toward the end of 2018, with production rising in 2019, he said. One of the 6 prototypes appeared in the prestige-laden July 14, 2017, military parade.