Saudi SCOPA and Airbus agree to produce helicopters in the kingdom -SCOPA CEO

DUBAI (Reuters) -Saudi defence company SCOPA Industries and Airbus have signed an agreement to jointly produce civil and military helicopters in the kingdom, SCOPA CEO Fawaz Alakeel told Saudi state TV on Monday.

The deal was announced on the sidelines of a Saudi-French investment forum being held during a visit by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to France that started last week.

Alakeel said the first helicopters produced at joint SCOPA and Airbus factories in Saudi Arabia would be seen with 24 months of next February’s World Defense Show, where he said the “foundation stone” for the project would be laid.

He added that SCOPA expects to manufacture more than 100 helicopters and create 8500 jobs in the kingdom. Without giving further details he said the company expects investments worth more than 25 billion riyals ($6.67 billion) over 20 years.

Saudi and French companies have signed 24 agreements at the forum, Saudi state TV reported without further details.

($1 = 3.7505 riyals)

(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah; Editing by Toby Chopra, Kirsten Donovan)