Rheinmetall and Ukraine's Ukroboronprom form JV to build, repair tanks

(Reuters) - Rheinmetall has founded a joint venture with Ukrainian state-owned conglomerate Ukroboronprom to build and repair tanks in Ukraine, the company said on Saturday.

Closing of the agreement to set up the joint venture is scheduled for late June with operations to begin from mid-July.

The venture will begin by maintaining and repairing vehicles transferred to Ukraine by Germany, but will later seek to jointly produce some Rheinmetall products in Ukraine, the statement said, leading to the possible joint development of military systems to export from Ukraine.

Rheinmetall's chief executive Armin Papperger revealed the plans for the venture to business paper Handelsblatt on Friday, stating Rheinmetall will hold a 51% stake and provide management.

The German company expects to sign contracts for two more joint ventures in the coming days for ammunition and air defence, according to Handelsblatt.

Rheinmetall has ridden a rise in defence spending since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year, with Germany also supplying aid and weapons to Kyiv.

Rheinmetall makes ammunition and other military equipment as well as jointly producing the Leopard tanks that Germany is sending to Ukraine with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)