Special Report

20 Companies Profiting the Most From War

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10. Thales
> Profits for most recent fiscal year: $4.2 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2018: $9.47 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2018: 50.0%
> 1-year change in arms sales: -1.4%

Paris-based Thales, which specializes in aerospace technologies, defense and security, and digital identity and security, is one of the largest defense contractors in Europe. The company’s arms sales accounted for half of its total 2018 revenue, a relatively low proportion compared to most other top military service companies. Also unlike most companies on this list, Thales’ arms sales declined by 1.4% between 2017 and 2018.

In 2018, Thales announced a deal with the French Navy to install seven new radar systems on frigates for missile fire control.

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9. Almaz-Antey
> Profits for most recent fiscal year: $1.79 million
> Arms and military services sales in 2018: $9.64 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2018: 98.0%
> 1-year change in arms sales: 18.0%

Established in 2002 under the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Almaz-Antey is the largest known state-owned defense contractor, as measured by revenue, in the world. It is the only Russia-based company in the top 10 of the world’s largest defense contractors. In July 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury added Almaz-Antey to a list of companies banned from doing business with the United States. The sanctions were imposed against the company for its involvement in Russia’s continued support of separatists in eastern Ukraine and occupation of Crimea.

Almaz-Antey had arms and military services sales of $9.64 billion in 2018, according to SIPRI estimates. This was an increase from 2017. Still, the share of global arms sales by Russia-based companies fell due to increased expenditure by the United States and Europe.

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8. Leonardo
> Profits for most recent fiscal year: $664.8 million
> Arms and military services sales in 2018: $9.82 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2018: 68.0%
> 1-year change in arms sales: 4.4%

Named after the Tuscany-born Renaissance man, Leonardo is the only Italian company to rank among the world’s 100 largest defense contractors. The company manufactures products and provides services in multiple branches of defense, including land and naval electronics, information systems, helicopters, jet aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Leonardo also manufactures weapons systems, torpedoes, and ammunition for naval and land artillery. Leonardo products and services are used in 150 countries. After Italy, the company’s largest customers are the U.K., United States, and Poland.

7. Airbus Group
> Profits for most recent fiscal year: $3.9 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2018: $11.65 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2018: 15.0%
> 1-year change in arms sales: 9.0%

Though the company’s primary business is in commercial and private aircraft, Airbus is the second largest defense contractor in Europe after UK based BAE Systems. Airbus has had orders for over 600 of its Eurofighter Typhoon jet from a number of countries, including Austria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. The company has also received hundreds of orders for its A400M and C295 transport aircraft. Airbus makes secure communication devices for a client list that includes NATO.

Like many other companies on this list, Airbus is involved in cybersecurity and has worked with defense departments of countries across Europe to help protect vulnerable systems from cyber threats.

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6. BAE Systems
> Profits for most recent fiscal year: $2.10 billion
> Arms and military services sales in 2018: $21.21 billion
> Arms sales as pct. of total sales in 2018: 95.0%
> 1-year change in arms sales: -5.2%

BAE Systems is the largest defense contractor based in the United Kingdom and the sixth largest in the world. The company builds ground combat vehicles — including the Challenger 2, the main battle tank of both the British Army and Royal Army of Oman — for different situations and clients. The company is also in the early years of a decade-long contract with the U.K.’s Royal Air Force to support its fleet of Typhoon fighter jets, and it is assisting in the continued development of the F-35 fighter jet in a partnership with U.S. companies Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

While many other companies on this list also have lucrative deals with private and commercial clients, 95% of BAE Systems’ 2018 revenue came from arms deals.