Lords Get Richer Through Worldwide Arms Deals arising from Ukrainian Invasion
Members of the UK House of Lords have profited tens of thousands of pounds throug investments in arms companies as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to openDemocracy website.
According to the official register of interests, Tory peers Lord Glendonbrook, Viscount Eccles, and Lord Sassoon, as well as unaffiliated peers Lord Lupton and Lord Gadhia, own shares in in British weapons company BAE Systems worth at least £50,000.
Since the conflict began over four weeks ago, BAE Systems’ share price has climbed by 23%, implying that each peer’s investment is now worth at least £11,500 more than it was before.The company is the largest arms seller in the United Kingdom and the sixth largest in the world.
All but four of the world’s top 20 weapon sellers have seen their percentage of sales increase.
The conflict is thought to have killed tens of thousands of people, including 20,000 civilians in the besieged city of Mariupol in the country’s south.
A pregnant mother and her unborn child died last week when a Mariupol maternity facility was shelled.
Ukraine also accused Russia of hitting a theatre in the city, where over 1,000 people, including children, were sheltering.
As a result of the conflict, some executives at the world’s largest arms corporations have already told investors that profits are expected to climb this year.
In January, the CEO of Raytheon Technologies, the world’s second-largest arms dealer, said the conflict created “potential for overseas sales” during an earnings call.
Tensions in Eastern Europe, tensions in the South China Sea, all of these things are placing a strain on some of their defence spending. In answer to a question from an investor, he remarked, “I firmly anticipate we’ll get some advantage from it.”
Arms manufacturers have applauded Germany’s chancellor’s statement last month that the country will increase defence spending to 2% of its GDP.
While public support for pacifism has remained high, Germany has traditionally resisted demands from NATO partners to boost its military expenditure.
“Some months ago, some tried to ban us, to argue that this sector is a really dangerous industry, a very damaging industry,” Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger told the Financial Times.
“it’s a completely different world now” he commented.
Patrice Caine, the CEO of the French arms company Thales, told investors earlier this month that the news was “good” for defence firms, including his own.
Since the start of the conflict, nations throughout the world have committed to either deliver guns to Ukraine or increase their own military spending.
The European Union has declared that it will purchase and supply armaments to Ukraine for €450 million (£375 million), while the United States has given $350 million (£265 million) in military aid.
Since Russia’s invasion, the UK has delivered 2,000 anti-tank weaponry to Ukraine, and chancellor Rishi Sunak has been pressed to raise defence spending in his Spring Budget.
BAE Systems has previously agreed to supply the Ministry of Defence with £3.4 billion in munitions as part of a contract signed in 2020.
The company claimed last month that the “uncertain global environment” and “complex dangers” facing the world will enhance its business this year when it announced its 2021 results.
According to SIPRI, BAE Systems sold £24 billion worth of weaponry in 2020.
Last week, a UK company funded a Saudi-organized arms show at which several sanctioned Russian state arms businesses promoted weaponry used against Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine appears to be turbo-charging a vicious cycle where conflict leads to higher demand for arms, heightens tensions, leads to additional conflict Roy Isbister of ‘peacebuilding’ NGO Saferworld’s arms unit indicated.
The armaments companies and their owners, whose earnings and prospects grow as the bombs fall, benefit the most from this cycle of bloodshed.
He said a new rethinking and strategy of how we manage and prepare for international crises isrequired
Lord Glendonbrook, Lord Lupton, Lord Gadhia, Viscount Eccles, and Lord Sassoon have all been asked for their thoughts but declined to comment.