German firm denies $3.4bn Saudi submarine deal

ThyssenKrupp refutes report that it is about to sign contract to sell five submarines to Gulf kingdom

(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Germany's ThyssenKrupp denied a media report saying the industrial conglomerate is about to sign a $3.4 billion contract to sell submarines to Saudi Arabia.

Weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported on Sunday that Saudi Arabia would purchase five so-called Class 209 submarines for about 2.5 billion euros ($3.37 billion), citing unnamed German governmentsources.

A spokeswoman for ThyssenKrupp said the company was not in talks on such a sale.

"There are absolutely no projects on submarines for Saudi Arabia and therefore no talks," she told Reuters. "The article lacks any foundation."

Bild am Sonntag said that Saudi Arabia plans to spend 12 billion euros to acquire as many as 25 submarines over the longer term, to be assembled by ThyssenKrupp's Marine Systems division at shipyards in northern Germany.

Arms exports are a sensitive issue in Germany because of its Nazi past and the role arms makers such as Krupp played in stoking 19th and 20th century wars with exports to both sides.

Successive governments of former West Germany and the subsequently reunified Germany placed tight restrictions on arms exports, particularly to regions ridden by conflict or with poor human rights records.

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