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Army reforms threaten Swiss armaments maker



The government-owned armaments group, RUAG SUISSE, says it will need to find new markets if Switzerland goes ahead with plans to slash defence spending, according to the group's head, Toni Wicki.

Wicki made the comment at RUAG's first news conference since it became a limited company at the beginning of last year.

Fewer orders by the Swiss army last year led to a four per cent drop in turnover to SFr962 million, and Wicki said he expects the proposed reforms to lead to a further, massive drop. Therefore, gaining access to the European market has to be given priority, according to Wicki.

RUAG plans to expand in certain areas, including aircraft servicing, information and communication systems, and small calibre munitions and weapons.

Wicki also said RUAG had to explore potential for its products and services in the civilian domain, but this alone would not make up for the shortfall of orders from the Swiss army.

RUAG employs nearly 4,000 people at four plants located across the country.

swissinfo with agencies