Interview of our CEO David Chour for EURO magazine
The conflict in Ukraine was, according to David Chour, the primary reason for the record revenues of the CSG holding. However, as the CEO further states, it was not just about direct deliveries to Ukraine, but also to other countries, especially NATO member states. Last year was also successful for CSG in terms of the profit share in total revenues. "Last year, we managed to significantly increase profitable projects," Chour explained. According to predictions, this year should be even better and more profitable for the CSG group. "We believe that consolidated revenues should exceed two billion euros, and we would like to approach a consolidated profit of five hundred million euros," added the CEO of the holding.
The most significant investment last year was the acquisition of a majority stake in the Italian ammunition company Fiocchi. According to David Chour, the investment met the holding's expectations. "Fiocchi has shifted the perception of our group to a significant international dimension. Fiocchi includes two Italian companies, two British, and an American company with manufacturing plants. Expanding our business and own production in Italy, Britain, and the USA is a significant milestone in CSG's history and the beginning of future growth and development that we would like to direct towards an international dimension," explains the CEO. He also mentioned that CSG wants to expand the number of small-caliber ammunition customers in the USA and in the future become a supplier of ammunition from Fiocchi production for the US armed forces. CSG would like to penetrate the US market not only with ammunition from the Fiocchi portfolio but also with other products. One of them is already introduced in the US armed forces. "We successfully sold the Retwis X-ray device from our company Retia to the armed forces, which is used to detect living beings behind a wall or another non-metallic obstacle," said David Chour.
Another recent investment by the Czechoslovak Group was entering the French company Gaussin. Czechoslovak Group is now its largest shareholder. "Gaussin was an immediate opportunity. We went to see the production, we looked at the market aspects of this business, and we see huge potential in self-driving electric vehicles in terms of airport or port management, and we think that Gaussin could potentially be a leader in this market," believes the CEO of the holding.
In addition to expanding the portfolio of companies, the CSG group also invests in the background of its already established production operations. At the beginning of July, the Czechoslovak Group announced investments in member companies in the Czech Republic and Slovakia amounting to two billion crowns. The key reason for massive investments is increased demand related to the war in Ukraine. As David Chour states, the investment can be divided into two parts. "The first is the construction of buildings in Šternberk and Kopřivnice by our company Tatra Defence Vehicle, where we are preparing two new halls. The second area is mechanical production and innovation, i.e., expanding our machine equipment and installing a new filling line in Slovak ammunition factories and purchasing new pressing units and renovating huge presses that we use in the production of 155-millimeter caliber guns. These are investments in the low tens of millions of euros, with a delivery and implementation period longer than two years," he explained.
In terms of involvement in modernization projects of the Czech army, where the primary supplier is a foreign entity, CSG always strives to be a significant partner in localizing cooperation with domestic industry. "We always strive for the most significant orders so that we can produce more, employ more people, and earn more. This is a natural part of our business," specifies David Chour. In the case of purchasing CV90 infantry fighting vehicles for the Czech Army, the Czechoslovak Group will be the supplier of turrets. As the CEO of the holding mentioned, the framework agreement with the Swedish partner has already been signed, and its implementation is already underway.