October 22nd, 2012
10:02 AM GMT
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Despite rising fuel costs, one sector that is not witnessing a downturn is defense. Rising tensions over Iran and growing security concerns are not only driving regional governments to boost their weaponry but are forcing them to boost protection as well.

The Middle East spent $111 billion on defense in 2011 and one company that wants to tap into that market is the Streit group, a Canadian company that is using the Middle East's strategic location to boost its growth.

Guerman Goutorov, chairman and founder of the Streit Group, began his quest from the garage of his home in Canada.

“I was the welder, I was the painter and only one employee in the company,” he told CNN’s Leone Lakhani at the world's largest privately owned armoured car manufacturing plant.

With a handful of tools Goutorov set out to build him first armoured car. He recognised its value as a niche market.

“Originally I came from Russia. I was in the police force for five years. Then I see so many criminal situations happening. I decide to bring something that can protect the people – and I start to look for armoured cars but I end up making them myself.

That was back in 1996. Today Goutorov is at the helm of the Streit group, the largest privately owned armoured vehicle company in the world.

But he operates his business not from Canada or Russia but from Ras Al-Khaimah – or Rak for short – in the United Arab Emirates.

It is the group’s single largest operation. One building in particular is 400,000 square feet.

“We have 386 employees right now but we will be by the next six months around 500 employees,” Goutorov said.

Goutorov said he chose to locate in the UAE because the business practices suited them – and it was more cost effective than some if its neighbours.

“We visited the UAE, and we visited Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq and our choice was UAE.”

Currently, 140 vehicles a month are produced in the Rak plant. Every part of the process is done in house.

When a commercial car is first brought in, it's stripped of all of its interiors. The upholstry, the wiring. brought right down to the very bare bones. It takes four to 10 days to armour the car from the ground up.

Streit says 70 percent of the cars are made for commercial rather than military security vehicles.

The bulk of the business is armouring commercial vehicles. And the trick is to keep it low profile. A bus for instance can look ordinary from the outside. On the inside it's reinforced by steel.

Vehicles assembled at the Rak plant are exported all over the world. But Goutorov said – with the volatility in the region – the Middle East is still the largest market

“I would say 30 percent is Middle East and the rest of th world is around 70 percent. Different political situations, different countries would see some progress. Its going on in Africa and also in South Asia.”

Goutorov plans to double the capacity at the Rak plant – and increase production of its military vehicles.

“Next year, we should be going to 60/40. 60 percent commerical . 40 military side. The purpose is the same - they have to protect the lives, they have to save the soldiers, they have to save VIPS, individuals and government entities.

Goutorov is gearing up to expand his business in Rak – to meet the rising demand for security worldwide.

Filed under: Along the silk roadBusiness


soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Ulf hammarskjold

    Please contact Chris@usscgroup.com We are the largest US manufacturer of military seats in the US and would wellcome an inquiry to sell our products to you Thank you

    October 22, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  2. aldo1950

    ..I'D LIKE TO HAVE A CPOY..

    October 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  3. CeterumCenseo

    Insane. Another toy for the Emiratees...

    October 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  4. Alberto

    I found a typo in this artical (With a handful of tools Goutorov set out to build him first armored car.). Him should be His, spell check is a helpful tool.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:34 am |
  5. amaGubba

    CeterumCenseo
    Insane. Another toy for the Emiratees...

    October 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    Read the article, 30% of his business is in the Middle East, 70% is elswhere.
    What has it got to do with the Emiratees, other than he chose UAE as the best place to build his product.

    October 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  6. ASSOCIATION OF GERMAN ARMORED CAR BODY-BUILDER

    Just another company overestimating itself as it can currently be seen with the sad example of CARAT SECURITY GROUP!

    Unfortunately with bad quality, no real technical developments (chassis reinforcements partially consist of original antishocks that have been repainted in vivid colours etc.), a difficult provision with spare parts, a non-prohibition to international export rules and regulations (especially regarding "Dual Use"- products) and without any rear cover of most of the OEM standard vehicle manufacturers (resulting in the expiration of OEM guarantees respectively of OEM warranties), internationally valid Compliance regulations are not adhered to etc.

    The current strategy to gain market shares by means of dumping prices will not work in the long-term.

    Fortunately for STREIT GROUP, CPI (Transparency International), IRS (International Revenue Service) respectively SEC (Securities Exchange Commission are not yet investigating although it certainly would be appropriate to!

    October 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  7. octopus

    @Alberto: so where's the spelling mistake, professor?

    October 25, 2012 at 3:08 am |
  8. ahmed

    game tester

    http://s.v22v.net/A0Hz

    October 30, 2012 at 6:33 am |
  9. khader

    no body deal with striet group.. they are thief specially that stupid owner guerman .. he is biggest thief......to make sure contact me ... khader 00971505037424

    April 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  10. khader

    no body deal with striet group.. they are thief specially that stupid owner guerman .. he is biggest thief......to make sure contact me ... khader 00971505037424

    April 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  11. backlink

    Do youve got a spam concern on this internet site; I also am a blogger, and I was questioning your scenario; we have created some good strategies and were looking to swap solutions with other people, be positive to shoot me an e-mail if serious. backlink http://fiverr.com/twnseobacklink

    April 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  12. JAFFAR ALI

    WE HAVE WORKED FOR THIS COMPANY 4 MONTH, AND SUPPLIED EQUIPMENT CCTV AND ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS BUT NOW ALMOST 1 YEAR NOT PAYING THE BALANCE MONEY, WE HAVE TRIED ALL THE WAY, NO ONE RESPONDING, WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT BIGGEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD
    .

    WE HAVE SENT SEVERAL EMAIL, SEVERAL PHONE CALL NOBODY RESPONDING NOR PAYING THE MONEY.

    April 29, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  13. khader

    I apologize for streit and Mr. Guerman for offending comments . I was mistaken in our misunderstanding. Wish them gd luck

    May 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  14. Richard

    After saw this blog it was confirmed that customer’s feedback also taken into consideration. It is good. By this customers got satisfaction and next time they can get their wanted products in market. The manufacture industries and the service centers are also got inspiration for the better one and make popular. In such process communication gap disappear and primary goal of a business strategy achieved.
    Mercedes Repair San Jose

    May 29, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  15. Mr Anderson

    Streit group have come along way since their humble beginnings in 1992. We have used their products on the battlefield and never had a single fatality. Will recommend their products to all.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  16. UAE offshore

    What is a World's largest private armoured car firm expands ? Can you tell me some tips or idias related to the World's largest private armoured car firm expands ? Can you sent me some more information related to the World's largest private armoured car firm expands in your point of view ?

    June 25, 2013 at 8:20 am |

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Along the Silk Road

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