Croatian Companies Produce Weapons for FBI, Clothing for NATO

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac writes on the 20th of November, 2019, thousands of helmets from the Šestan-Busch company from Međimurje, as well as weapons from the Ozalj-based company HS Product, are equipment purchased by the US Federal Agency from the companies of the Croatian defense industry, while Hrvatski Galeb (Croatian Seagull) produces NATO clothing.

According to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), Croatian companies operating in this particular sector are known as trusted and reliable partners who make and offer quality products. They are currently exhibiting at the 21st International Fair of Homeland Security, Military Police Equipment and Arms (Milipol) in the French capital of Paris.

Organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Alan Agency, Kap-ko and Šešir, Galeb, Odjeća i Pozamanterija are all on display.

The Prelog-based Šestan-Busch company is present in more than seventy countries today, producing around a thousand pieces of safety helmets daily, and they arrived at the Paris Fair with a top recommendation.

”The German company Busch opened a company with an American partner in California just a few months ago. Specifically, if one wants to become a supplier to the military and police there, they must have a US registered company. This move has allowed us to become a supplier to the FBI, to which we’ve already delivered several thousand helmets,” stated Alojzije Šestan, the company’s director.

However, Croatian textile companies also play an extremely important role in the Croatian defense industry, too, as technical textiles, as was explained by the Croatian Chamber of Economy, represent a key niche market for the European Union.

”Focusing on “smart clothing” is a major driver of the EU textile industry,” said Galeb’s Stjepan Pezo, who produces a massive two million pieces of clothing each year. Their range includes functional knitwear products, underwear, which doesn’t cause discomfort when a person sweats because, as was learned, the clothing sees to it that any moisture is quickly drained away from the body.

“The work being done for NATO is our best reference for potential new partners when participating in trade shows,” Pezo added when discussing the business under which Galeb produced as many as 200,000 sets of NATO long underwear.

At the Paris Fair, the Croatian company Odjeća is also present, which produces official and protective clothing such as high-quality military and police uniforms and work and protective clothing for firefighters, according to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

”We currently export ten percent of our total turnover to Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Because as an industry we can’t compete with the Far East in terms of the cost of labour, we place emphasis on quality and our further business plan is to continue working on specific, high quality smaller product series and export growth,” said Jasminka Korotaj, Odjeća’s director.

Croatian defense industry companies are regular suppliers of arms and military equipment for the needs of the Croatian Army here at home too, and this year, the last contract concluded was worth a huge 314 million kuna. In addition, this year’s contracts with the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) for police equipment and other items is worth 135 million kuna.

Based on financial indicators, Croatian companies who operate in this sector made a surplus of just under 900 million kuna last year in trade in military goods and non-military weapons.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia page for much more on Croatian products.


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