Kalashnikov turns to Middle East and diversification to offset effect of sanctions

KalashnikovKalashnikov turns to Middle East: Russia’s iconic firearms maker Kalashnikov is planning to turn its attention to business opportunities in in the Middle East and Africa now that Western sanctions have closed the door on the highly lucrative US commercial gun market, its CEO Alexei Krivoruchko told journalists and delegates at the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi yesterday.“We had big plans for the U.S. market,” he said. “People there love our products and sales had doubled.” Sales of its assault rifles had also been driven by demand in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, however, a development which helped the company make its first profit in seven years in 2014. “There is always great interest for our products in the Middle East, Iran and other countries, ” he added.
Because of Western sanctions. Kalashnikov is now looking both for new geographical markets and to diversify its product range into purely military areas such as rockets and drones, and has set aside $100m for the development of new products. He also announced that the company had acquired majority stakes in both Zala Aero, a Russian developer of drones, and the Euroyachting Rybinskaya Shipyard, which makes landing craft.