in Stories

Austrian company supplied Mugabe with military vehicles

An Austrian company Steyr Spezialfahrzeuge is reported to have supplied military vehicles to an elite unit of President Robert Mugabe in 2001, according to a cable released by Wikileaks.

The company is also reported to have supplied tanks to Botswana which allegedly financed the deal with funds earmarked for development assistance.

The cable did not disclose the value of the Zimbabwean transaction.

It said SSF was purchased from Canada’s Magna International in 1998. The Canadian company held a 66 percent stake.

General Dynamics took over SSF in 2003.

In 2005 SSF had 350 employees and annual sales of Euro 170 million.

Since 2005, SSF has signed several major export contracts, including orders from the Portuguese Army (Euro 365 million) and the Czech Defence Ministry (Euro 821 million) for 200 Pandur armoured vehicles.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 06VIENNA3588, AUSTRIA’S STEYR COMPANIES: WHO OWNS WHAT AND WHO DOES WHAT

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

06VIENNA3588

2006-12-21 10:57

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Vienna

VZCZCXRO1071

RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA

RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG

DE RUEHVI #3588/01 3551057

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 211057Z DEC 06

FM AMEMBASSY VIENNA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5822

INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VIENNA 003588

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON EIND EINV ETRD ETTC AU

SUBJECT: AUSTRIA’S STEYR COMPANIES: WHO OWNS WHAT AND WHO DOES WHAT

 

Summary

——-

 

1. There are several independent Austrian companies with the name

“Steyr.” All of them originally formed one company,

Steyr-Daimler-Puch (SDP). However, in the 1980s, SDP, one of

Austria’s largest industrial conglomerates, encountered major

financial problems that resulted in the company’s break-up into

various Austrian and foreign controlled entities. The “Steyr

companies” are now independent firms producing a wide range of

industrial goods. The most notable SDP successors are Steyr

Mannlicher (SM), which sells hunting and military rifles; Steyr

Spezialfahrzeuge (SSF), which produces busses, tanks, and armored

vehicles; and Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik (MSF), which assembles

automobiles for BMW, Chrysler, Mercedes, and Saab. SM and SSF have

occasionally been the subject of negative press criticism for

controversial arms sales to the Middle East and military sales to

African states. End Summary.

 

 

The Origins of Steyr: Steyr-Daimler-Puch (SDP)

——————————————— –

 

2. Steyr’s origin dates back to 1864, when the company began

manufacturing rifles in Steyr, Austria. In the 1920s, the firm

merged with Austro-Daimler-Puch, a bicycle and car manufacturer, to

form Steyr-Daimler-Puch (SDP). SDP developed into a formidable

international company, producing rifles, ball bearings, bicycles,

motorcycles, cars, busses, trucks, tractors, agricultural machinery,

tanks and military vehicles. Following World War II, SDP added

tanks, armored vehicles (Saurer, Kuerassier, Pandur, ASCOD-Ulan) and

utility vehicles (Haflinger, Pinzgauer) to its product line. In

1980, SDP was Austria’s third largest industrial conglomerate with

over 17,000 employees. A major financial crisis in the late 1980s

led to reorganizations, outsourcing of productions to new companies,

sales of some productions and closings of others.

 

 

Steyr Mannlicher (SM)

———————

 

3. In 1987, SDP established Steyr Mannlicher (SM) as a 100%

subsidiary concentrating on rifle production. Following a series

of ownership changes in the 1990s, Austrian Cura Investholding,

under the direction of Wolfgang Fuehrlinger, obtained SM. In April

2004, SM entered a joint venture with Malaysia’s National Aerospace

and Defense Industries to produce SM’s AUG A3 military assault

rifles for the Malaysian Army. SM consists of three companies:

Steyr Mannlicher Austria; Steyr Arms Inc. in Cumming, Georgia; and

Steyr Mannlicher SDN in Kuala Lumpur. All three operate as

independent companies, with Fuehrlinger as CEO. SM has world-wide

exports, with primary markets in Western Europe, Australia, the

U.S., Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. In 2005, SM Austria had 100

employees and total sales of Euro 11.3 million.

 

4. SM has frequently appeared in the Austrian press under negative

headlines. In April 2003, Austrian press reported that U.S.

soldiers found SM rifles in the arms arsenal of Saddam Hussein’s son

Udai in Bagdhad. Following the delivery of approximately 800

long-range, high precision sniper rifles (model Steyr HS.50 with a

range of 1,500 meters and a 12.7 x 99 millimeter caliber) to Iran

in 2004, the USG imposed nonproliferation sanctions against SM in

December 2005.

 

 

Steyr Spezialfahrzeuge (SSF)

—————————-

 

5. In 1987, SDP outsourced production of busses, tanks and armored

vehicles to its Steyr Spezialfahrzeuge (SSF) subsidiary. In 1999, a

consortium including SSF CEO Hans Michael Malzacher and General

Dynamics (25% share) purchased SSF from Canada’s Magna

International, which had held a 66% share in SSF since 1998.

General Dynamics assumed a 100% stake in SSF in 2003. In 2005, SSF

had 350 employees and annual sales of Euro 170 million. Since 2005,

SSF has signed several major export contracts, including orders from

the Portugese Army (Euro 365 million) and the Czech Defense Ministry

(Euro 821 million for 200 Pandur armored vehicles

 

6. SSF has also been the target of negative media coverage

regarding certain sales of military equipment. In 2001, SSF

delivered military vehicles to an elite unit of Zimbabwean President

Robert Mugabe, as well as tanks to Botswana, which allegedly

financed the deal with funds earmarked for development assistance.

In 2002, SSF purchased the insolvent Steyr Nigeria, originally an

SDP agricultural equipment subsidiary, from the Nigerian

Government.

 

 

Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik (MSF)

———————————

 

 

VIENNA 00003588 002 OF 002

 

 

7. Since the sale of its bicycle and motorcycle production to

Italy’s Piaggio in 1987, Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik (SFT) has

concentrated on the development and production of all-terrain

vehicles for civil and military uses. In 1990, SFT and Chrysler

started “Eurostar,” a 50/50 joint venture to assemble Chrysler

Voyager minivans and Jeep Cherokees in Austria In 1998, Canadian

car components manufacturer Magna International obtained a majority

share in SFT through its Austrian subsidiary, Magna Steyr. Chrysler

subsequently exercised an option in 1999 to buy out Magna’s shares

in Eurostar to obtain 100% ownership. In 2002, Chrysler sold its

100% share in Eurostar, which assembles for BMW, Chrysler, Mercedes

and Saab, back to Magna Steyr. Magna Steyr then reorganized SFT and

Eurostar under the name, Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik (MSF). MSF is

the largest automobile company in Austria, with total sales of Euro

3.9 billion in 2005 and 7,500 employees.

 

 

ZF Steyr

——–

 

8. In 1999, the German ZF Group, a supplier of automotive axles and

off-road technology, took over Steyr Antriebstechnik, a producer of

agricultural gears. The company produces in Austria under the name

ZF Steyr with 360 employees and annual sales of Euro 110 million.

 

MCCAW

 

(86 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment