OIP wishes to react to the recent press reports stating that the company refused to approve the delivery of M109 self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine. We regret the incorrect and unverified facts about the said sale. Contrary to media reports, the M109 howitzers were never sold to OIP and as such, OIP has never been at any stage the owner of that material.
In fact the M109 howitzers are owned by the company FTS in Tisselt. FTS is an independent company, not owned or related to OIP, who bought the M109 howitzers through a competitive public auction of military equipment in 2015.
OIP was approached with the request to facilitate the negotiations relating to the M109 howitzers with the Ukrainian government. A Ukrainian delegation inspected the vehicles at the FTS facilities, the purchase conditions and the sale price were agreed and the export license application process was initiated. The Belgian Government was kept informed of every step taken during the negotiations.
The export process was blocked as a result of the decision by the Belgian Government to intervene and donate the M109 howitzers to the Ukrainian government. Unfortunately, the price difference between the 2015 acquisition price and the proposed selling price of the vehicles proved to be difficult to substantiate by the Belgian Government. Hence their decision to stop all proceedings without price negotiations and notwithstanding the fact that OIP provided justification of the cost structure and the proposed selling price.
It furthermore needs to be emphasized that, unlike what is written in the press articles, it was FTS, not OIP, who refused inspection of the M109 Howitzers by the Belgian Ministry of Defense. In the weeks following these events, FTS decided to sell the M109 Howitzers to an undisclosed buyer and for an undisclosed price.
OIP has been a trusted supplier to military clients all over the world since 1919. We have supported the assistance to the Ukrainian forces since the start of the conflict. We will continue to provide them and all our customers with cutting edge, value for money solutions.