Special Report

20 Companies Profiting the Most From War

Source: Wikimedia Commons

15. Harris Corp.
> Arms sales: $4.92 billion
> Total sales: $7.47 billion
> Profit: $324 million
> Employees: 21,000

Harris Corporation reported $4.92 billion in defense contracts in 2015, up from $3.11 billion the previous year. Responsible for the electronic components equipped in the F-22 and F-18 fighter jets, the company has several lucrative deals with the U.S. DoD. Harris has also worked in the increasingly relevant areas of electronic warfare and cyber security for decades.

Harris Corp. deals primarily with the U.S. government and no single foreign government accounted for more than 5% of the company’s total revenue last year. All told, defense contracts accounted for roughly a third of the company’s total sales in 2015.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

14. Safran
> Arms sales: $5.02 billion
> Total sales: $19.31 billion
> Profit: $1.64 billion
> Employees: 70,090

In the latest move towards industry consolidation, French aerospace manufacturer Safran agreed in January to buy fellow French arms maker Zodiac Aerospace. The merged companies form one of the world’s largest aerospace suppliers by revenue.

Safran makes one of the best selling jet engines, the CFM56, used mainly in Boeing and Airbus planes. The United States — the U.S. government and U.S. based companies — is by far the largest player in the global arms market. As it is therefore true for most military contractors, the U.S. is a major customer of Safran. Safran helicopter engines and other parts such as wheels and brakes are used by the Coast Guard and other branches of the military.

Source: SkyBon / Wikimedia Commons

13. Almaz-Antey
> Arms sales: $6.62 billion
> Total sales: $6.97 billion
> Profit: N/A
> Employees: N/A

Russia’s national military expenditure dropped from third to fourth place in 2015, as Saudi Arabia moved up to third largest arms spender. More recently, despite tightening budgets from falling oil prices, Russia announced increased military spending in its 2017-2019 budget.

Despite the budget fluctuations, state-owned Almaz-Antey is one of several Russian defense companies to rank among the top global arms producers in recent years. Like most large defense contractors, the missile maker’s operations are heavily dependent on both government budgets and demand from governments in the region. India, which increased its military spending by 46% between 2006 and 2015, is one Almaz-Antey’s largest customers.

12. Huntington Ingalls Industries
> Arms sales: $6.74 billion
> Total sales: $7.02 billion
> Profit: $404 million
> Employees: 35,500

Though it is a private company, Huntington Ingalls Industries plays a crucial role in the U.S. defense and military strategy. The company is the sole manufacturer of aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy and one of only two companies contracted to build nuclear-powered submarines. In addition to its headquarters, the company has manufacturing facilities in Newport News, Virginia. Huntington is one of the largest employers in Virginia and the largest shipbuilding company in the United States.

The company has a number of subsidiaries, including UniversalPegasus International, an oil and gas infrastructure project management company. Still, military contracts accounted for some 96% of the company’s 2015 sales.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

11. Thales
> Arms sales: $8.10 billion
> Total sales: $15.60 billion
> Profit: $897 million
> Employees: 62,190

Involved in ground transportation and communications, avionics, naval systems, and cybersecurity, Thales’ business encompasses nearly every aspect of military technology. The French company signed major defense contracts with Australia, Egypt, and Qatar in 2015, driving sales to $8.10 billion, up over $900 million from the year before.

Still, defense only accounts for about half of the Paris-based company’s business. Thales also designs and manufactures satellites and electronic aeronautic equipment for commercial and scientific use.

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