EDGE, a defence conglomerate based in the UAE, has acquired a majority stake in Estonia’s defence company Milrem Robotics as it seeks to develop capabilities in robotics and autonomous systems. The deal will allow both companies to share technology and expertise, expand their resources, and provide Milrem with the necessary support to further international growth.
According to the announcement, Milrem Robotics will become a new entity under EDGE’s platforms and systems cluster. The companies did not disclose the value of the deal, but it is named to be the largest foreign investment in Estonia’s growing defence industry.
The investment will help Milrem to expand its workforce, step up production, and grow its footprint internationally. Additionally, EDGE will gain access to markets in Northern Europe and beyond. “A presence in Estonia also provides EDGE with strategic access to Northern Europe, increasing valuable opportunities for us across the continent and further afield, and strengthens our position as a serious global player in this sector,” said Mansour AlMulla, managing director and chief executive of EDGE Group.
From repairs to innovations
Milrem Robotics was established in 2013 and employs about 200 people. CEO Kuldar Väärsi explained to Invest Estonia that the company was initially a bus repairing company but found a new line of activity in the repair and maintenance of heavy machinery for the Ministry of Defence. Milrem split in 2017, with Milworks focusing on repairs and maintenance and Milrem Robotics on robotics. After the split, Finland’s Patria, a state-owned defence company, has acquired a 60% stake in the repairs and maintenance operations entity.
Milrem Robotics’ products have been sold to 16 countries, including the US, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Germany, and the UK. The company will continue working with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, “whose expertise has been instrumental to Milrem Robotics’ work since acquiring a stake in 2021,” said Kuldar Vaarsi. Besides Krauss Maffei-Wegmann and Kuldar Väärsi, others shareholders include Estonian private investors, among them company employees as minority shareholders.
After the new deal, the company will continue to be based in the Estonian capital Tallinn, according to the statement. Its main products are the THEMIS and Multiscope unmanned ground vehicles, the Type-X unmanned combat vehicle, and the MIFIK land vehicle autonomy package.
The addition of EDGE as a new majority owner will allow Milrem to “significantly and more efficiently contribute to the development of Estonia’s defence capability,” said Riho Terras, chairman of the supervisory board of Milrem Robotics. “There is great potential here for both companies, and our investment in Milrem will allow it to take advantage of EDGE’s considerable resources,” added Mansour AlMulla
The move comes as the UAE moves ahead with its Operation 300B strategy, which seeks to increase the contribution of the local industrial sector to the country’s gross domestic product to $81B by 2031. The latest transaction is “an investment in the future of EDGE, which is laser-focused on the development of such capabilities across its multiple domains,” said Faisal Al Bannai, chairman of EDGE Group.