Rafael to buy $50m Brazil defense firm
BRAZIL - Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is in the advanced stages of negotiations to buy a Brazilian defense company valued at an estimated $50 million, according to sources in the know. This will be Rafael's first acquisition in the South American economic powerhouse. The Israeli company sees the deal as a lever for expanding its operations in Brazil, with additional acquisitions on a similar scale in the future.
The ongoing negotiations were also discussed during a meeting yesterday between President Shimon Peres and Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim. Peres, on a visit to Brazil, is exploring the possibility of expanding economic cooperation between Brazilian and Israeli defense companies. Jobim promised to support such a move on the condition that Israeli defense companies establish their production operations in Brazil. Senior representatives from Rafael, Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries joined Peres and Jobim in the latter part of the meeting.
Elbit Systems is the largest Israeli defense company operating in Brazil, with sales over the past decade totaling about $750 million. The firm is operating four projects in the country with hundreds of employees, including Brazilian planners and systems engineers who undergo training in Israel.
IAI has also stepped up its operations in Brazil over the past year. About six months ago it established a joint venture company with the Synergy Group, whose operations include unmanned Aerial Vehicles, advanced systems, radar and antimissile systems.
About three months ago IAI conducted a successful test of its Heron UAV for the Brazilian federal police, for use in missions to fight drug trafficking and the theft of natural resources.