On 29 July 2015, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Nexter Systems, two of Europe’s leading manufacturers of military land defence systems, signed a joint venture agreement in Paris in front of Mr. Le Drian, French Minister of Defence and Mr. Grübel, German State Secretary of Defence. The business combination will be structured through a newly incorporated Dutch N.V. in which both the Wegmann Family and the French State will (indirectly) hold 50% of the shares.
The alliance of the two groups under the umbrella of a joint Dutch holding company creates a Franco-German defence technology group, with a current annual turnover nearing 2 billion euro, an order book of around 9 billion euro and more than 6,000 employees. The product portfolio of the two groups includes main battle tanks (Leopard 2; Leclerc), howitzers, armored fighting vehicles, bridge laying systems and ammunition.
The deal has attracted a lot of media attention in both Germany and France, describing the alliance between Nexter and KMW as 'the creation of an Airbus in military land defence'.
Closing is subject to amongst other things clearance from the German competition authorities, French and US foreign investment clearance and the creation of a golden share in Nexter for the French State. Closing is envisaged for the end of this year.
A NautaDutilh team consisting of Hein Hooghoudt, Stefan Wissing, Edger Kleijer (Corporate M&A), Wijnand Bossenbroek and Pieter van Drooge (Notarial) acted as project counsel to KMW and Nexter (and their respective shareholders). The transaction documentation is governed by Dutch law.