Et tu DroneShield? Another Aussie company to sell weapons tech to Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia appears to be the new country of choice for ASX companies to sell weapons and weapons-related technology.
Following Electro Optic Systems’ (ASX:EOS) controversial sale of weapons tech to Saudi Arabia in February, DroneShield (ASX:DRO) has followed by signing an MoU with the state telco.
DroneShield makes anti-drone devices such as the DroneGun — a rifle-style, battery-powered product designed to knock out enemy drone models by interfering with their electronics. It can be used for civilian or State security purposes.
The deal is with the Saudi Telecom Company’s (STC) “specialised” arm, which looks after critical communications generally in the country and counts as clients the military, and the state airline and power company.
STC is in charge of providing secure comms for Hajj security.
The deal is an MoU, promising only to cooperate on sales of drone-killing guns and detection services to Saudi government customers and others outside the country.
EOS’ stock price was hurt by the news that they’re selling into Saudi, but DroneShield’s shares were unmoved, remaining at 11c.
Despite State enthusiasm for the US company’s products, investor interest has died off as purchase orders and actual money have been slow to come in.
The US has to approve sales to some countries and the selling process is more drawn out with national organisations than with private companies.
In 2018, the second full year of selling drone guns and software, DroneShield made $1.2m but also a loss worsened by 16 per cent to hit $6.3m.
The company said in January that it expected sales in this quarter to surge after reports of a drone over Gatwick Airport in the UK meant the area was closed for three days just before Christmas last year. Shares surged to 18 cents at one point after that news broke.
DroneShield has contracts or arrangements with a variety of interesting countries, from Kuwait to an as-yet unnamed Central American state.