SLAVEN RISTIĆ, General Manager of Tehnički Remont Bratunac: Ambitious Production Programme

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Tehnički Remont is an outstanding example of a company that has successfully passed through the ownership transition. It was founded as Tehnički Remontni Zavod in Bratunac in 1996, when companies from Hadžići and Kaolin Company from Bratunac merged to engage in overhaul of weapons and military equipment from the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Six years ago, the company was officially privatized, and the South African company ELW GLOBAL became its majority owner. Since then, the company’s machinery has been significantly improved and a number of skilled workers, such as mill workers, grinders, welders, turners, electricians and electronics workers have been employed. Also, several young and talented engineers joined the company, thus significantly improving the company’s staff structure.

In addition to constant investments in the company itself and its technology, it was also necessary to keep hiring and investing in young people so that Tehnički Remont Bratunac maintains quality of its workforce.
When the new owners took over, they brought with them a new vision for the company, new technology, new way of thinking and a stronger desire for the company to keep up with the global trends in weapons production. The company is still in an investment stage and its priority now is development of new products for global launch.
Guided by an idea of new owners – „new time requires new products“ – the company has developed a 9mm caliber pistol with a distinctive design and great features that does not lag in any way behind its competitors in the same category. The gun is designed for use in every extreme condition imaginable.

The company’s General Manager, Slaven Ristić says that the gun’s latest version could be launched in the very near future. In October last year, the company presented its new ammunition production line. Additionally, the company produces humane demining machines. At the time of the takeover, the situation in Tehnički Remont Bratunac was burdened by many problems which have been gradually resolved. Today, the company is a conscientious taxpayer, and it regularly disburses salaries and settles other financial obligations towards the state. At the moment, the company has enough contracted projects to keep it busy for the next 10 years. As a result of the company’s revival and its ambitious production programme, it has established contact and cooperation with a number of foreign companies, including the regional ones.

We have talked to Slaven Ristić, General Manager of Tehnički Remont Bratunac, about the company’s technical capacities, innovations that have become its trademark and production plans. We have also talked about the capacity of the weapons industry in the region in terms of regaining its rightful place in the weapons and military equipment global market. At the moment, the company is fully financed from its own funds. In order for this industry to develop, it has to have institutional support in obtaining licenses for cooperation with a number of markets around the world, as well as available financing sources and tax incentives which will help this industry to regain the global market position it deserves.

What capacities does Tehnički Remont Bratunac (TRB) have today, and what can you offer to your clients?

— TRB’s capacities consist of two plants with latest CNC machinery, serial and individual production machines, thermal processing and painting equipment, locksmith workshops, etc. Together with the administration staff we have over 200 workers. In line with its production and administrative capacity, TRB can offer to the market a number of products and services in the land defence system segment, as well as a number of products and services related to the civil metal processing industry.

What segments did you inherit from the previous state-owned company, and what parts have you modernized?

— We inherited experienced workers, a part of production, and some of the documentation. We have employed and trained a number of people, acquired many modern machines, and upgraded and overhauled the existing infrastructure.

What does product line look like today and what revenue sources do you rely on?

— The most prominent products in our weapons and military segment are: 1. Semi-automatic pistol, 9mm calibre, RS9 Vampire, 2. DESPOT multi-functional armoured vehicle, 3. DRINA machine gun production line, and 4. MH17 humane demining machine. We are financed exclusively from our own revenue sources.

To which markets do you export the Despot multi-functional armoured vehicle?

— Despot can cover a large segment of the global market, but let’s say that Africa and the Middle East are our target markets, in addition to our domestic market.

What are your innovation capacities and how are you going to expand your product offer?

— Most of our projects are development projects in the final stage, so all of them, in themselves, can be called innovative. In addition, we are definitely going to innovate the RS9 model, as well as produce various variations of the demining machine and armoured vehicle. Now is not really the time to talk about the projects that we have in the pipeline.

What is your assessment of the development of weapons industry in the region?

— Considering that, not so long ago, the regional weapons industry was one of the strongest in the world, we can see a noticeable recovery in all regional countries. Certain segments of the regional weapons industry are already quite competitive globally, and we expect that other weapons factories from the region will follow suit.

What kind of institutional support should weapons industry have in order to enusure its growth and development?

— We need support in securing licences for collaboration with other global markets, readily available financial sources and tax incentives.

DESPOT – MULTI-FUNCTIONAL ARMOURED VEHICLE

The first series consisting of four multi-functional armoured vehicles Despot will have its public launch soon. This new version has been significantly improved in relation to the prototype presented at the military parade held on the occasion of the Republic of Srpska Day. Despot is a multi-functional vehicle that we have been working on and developing for four years. The vehicle is manufactured and designed in line with all relevant international standards, and is based on both global experiences and the know-how of our own engineers. It is intended for anti-terrorist units, the army and the police. The basic concept of the vehicle is based on a multi-purpose chassis made of drive and power transmission units, as well as an independent suspension system that allows high mobility in all weather and terrain conditions. Despot has a modern design, is 6.05 metres long and 2.7 metres high, with a maximum weight of 14 tonnes. The name Despot comes from a Byzantine title that emperors used to give to their children and sons-in-law. The vehicle is intended for the international market.

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