Poland will establish a single defense industry holding made up of some 50 companies, Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced at a press conference on the premises of arms producer Wojskowe Zakłady Mechaniczne (WZM) in Siemianowice ¦l±skie last week.
Following an agreement reached by the defense and state treasury ministers, the new capital group will include Polish Defense Holding (PHO), a group of some 40 firms, steel mill Huta Stalowa Wola and 11 other weapons manufacturers. It remains unclear who will run the new holding.
“Establishing such a group should give a much needed boost to the Polish defense sector. It will create synergy arising from better coordination and specialization,” said PM Tusk, admitting that in the past Polish arms producers were often unwilling to cooperate with one another which cost them many deals both in Poland and abroad.
It should also result in more orders for small and medium-sized companies within the group, he said.
Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak stressed that the integration was also necessary, given the planned modernization of Poland’s defense industry which will include contracts worth some zł.139 billion by 2022. Poland is one of very few EU countries looking to increase its defense spending in the coming years rather than curb it. The defense ministry has clearly stated that the bulk of the contracts will go to Polish companies.
State Treasury Minister Włodzimierz Karpiński announced that the total income of the companies forming the new holding is roughly zł.6 billion and they employ over 13,000 people. The consolidation process will be completed by June 2014. The name of the new entity is still a matter of debate, although Mr Tusk hinted that it might be called “Rosomak,” after an eponymous armored vehicle produced in the Siemianiowice ¦l±skie plant.
Better late then never
There are opinions that the creation of the new holding will not bring the desired effects. “Further consolidation is a good idea, other countries have already done that, but it cost them billions of euros. I’m afraid that in Poland it will be just a cosmetic change that won’t bring any real results,” said Stanisław Głowacki, NSZZ Solidarity leader in the defense industry.
Other industry experts point out that such a consolidation is a good move though coming at least a year too late. “The current situation in the sector forces Poland to make such a move. It is being dominated by national, or in some cases even international giants,” said Sławomir Kułakowski, president of the Polish Chamber of National Defence Manufacturers.
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