Rheinmetall founds JV to make and repair tanks in Ukraine - Handelsblatt

Logo of Rheinmetall AG is seen in Zurich

BERLIN (Reuters) - Rheinmetall has founded a joint venture with Ukrainian state-owned conglomerate Ukroboronprom to build and repair tanks in Ukraine, the Handelsblatt daily reported Friday, citing the German arms maker's chief executive.

"The contracts have been signed," Chief Executive Armin Papperger told Handelsblatt, adding that the cooperation would cover the maintenance and repair of armoured vehicles in Ukraine, while the construction of tanks would be prepared in parallel.

Rheinmetall will hold a majority stake of 51% in the new company and will provide the management, added Handelsblatt.

The German company expects to sign contracts for two more joint ventures in the coming days, for ammunition and air defence, according to Handelsblatt.

"Ukraine will benefit from a comprehensive technology transfer as well as a short-term supply of military equipment from Germany," Papperger told Handelsblatt.

The newspaper cited the head of Ukroboronprom, Yuriy Husyev, as welcoming Rheinmetall's willingness to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Rheinmetall has ridden a rise in defence spending since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year, with Germany also supplying aid and weapons to Kyiv to help repel Russian forces.

Rheinmetall makes ammunition, other military equipment and also the Leopard tanks that Germany decided to send to Ukraine, which the company produces jointly with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

The company did not immediately provide comment.

(Writing by Miranda Murray; editing by Matthias Williams)