Czech businessman becomes billionaire by supplying repaired Soviet T-72 tanks to Ukraine

Czech businessman supplies repaired Soviet T-72 tanks and becomes billionaire

The owner of CSG Company Michal Strnad who started his business by repairing Soviet T-72 tanks, became a billionaire after supplying about a hundred tanks to Ukraine. He announced plans to catch up with Rheinmetall.

The head and owner of the Czechoslovak Group (CSG), Michal Strnad, became a billionaire after supplying repaired Soviet T-72 tanks to Kyiv, Bloomberg reports.

Strnad's father Jaroslav founded Excalibur in 1995. He would buy decommissioned Soviet tanks and other equipment in Eastern Europe to recycle them for scrap. He later "discovered a thriving market for spare parts and used combat vehicles in places like Africa, and also took advantage of close political connections at home."

Since then, the company has repaired about 300 T-72 battle tanks, about 100 of which were sent to Ukraine. Excalibur is now part of CSG. Since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, the production of heavy ammunition has had a tenfold increase. The number of company personnel tripled to 10,000 people. Today the company has factories in eight countries.

Its revenue rose to €1.73 billion ($1.9 billion) last year, which was more than triple the profit of €0.56 billion in 2021. Strnad, who took over the company in 2018, said it has a full backlog of orders "for many years to come.” The demand for arms will remain strong for a very long time as it would take "years" to replenish defence stockpiles after the conflict in Ukraine ends, he believes.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Michal Strnad is now worth at least $5 billion, and his company is among the fastest growing arms manufacturers in Europe. The businessman said he is ready to take CSG to the next level: "We are not [German defense holding] Rheinmetall yet, but we are catching up.”

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Author`s name Pavel Morozov
Editor Dmitry Sudakov