ArmorGroup International PLC

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Armor Group International PLC describes itself as "a leading international provider of protective security services, security training and weapons reduction and mine clearance services, primarily to Governments, major inter-governmental organizations and multinational corporations." [1]

It states on its website that it has "operations across Europe, North and South America, Russia/CIS, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific. Over the past 2 years ArmorGroup has assisted clients in over 160 countries." [2]

“It’s [Iraq] the largest ever deployment of private security companies, without parallel. But it’s impossible to know exactly how many because so many agencies are involved and there’s no central register. When all this is over, we’re going to have to sit down with governments and other companies and work out what went well and what didn’t. We must push for regulation so that there is more openness. At the moment, nobody is required to give any information” -Christopher Beese, Chief Administrative Officer. Archived


ArmorGroup was a division within a larger, US-based firm, Armor Holdings, Inc.[3]. Armor Holdings (a firm that started out producing body-armor in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 as American Body Armor[4], went bankrupt in 1992, Chapter 11 reorganization and underwent a transformation led by international investors in 1995[5][6]) acquired a British based firm, Defence Systems Limited, by April of 1997 for $26 million[7] to serve as the core for a new "risk management services" division. This new division became ArmorGroup and they acquired twenty other companies over the last four years, including the Alpha Firm, a Moscow based company that was basically a privatized version of the Soviet special forces "Alpha" unit. [Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry by P.W. Singer; c. 2003 Cornell University Press; pg. 84]

ArmorGroup has effectively built a multi-tasked force that ranges from mine clearance to intelligence to virtual security to protection of vital resource extraction sites, making it one of Fortune's 100 fastest growing companies in 1999 and 2000[8]. Singer uses ArmorGroup as a case example of corporate consolidation and global reach in the defense field. They have bought IBNet, a firm that specializes in internet surveillance and intelligence gathering, as well as purchasing NTI, which offers computer security and investigations for state agencies and large companies by their former U.S. Air Force staff.

On November 26, 2003, Armor Holdings, Inc. sold this division to ArmorGroup International Ltd., a new company "owned by private investors led by Granville Baird Capital Partners and certain members of the Services Division" [9], for $33.66 million in cash [10]. ArmorGroup's website states they are owned by "ArmorGroup Management and Granville Baird Capital Partners with financial support from Barclays Bank PLC, a major international banking group"[11].

On Nov 11th, 2004, ArmorGroup announced it intentions to float stocks onto the London Stock Exchange[12]. Christopher Beese, Armor's Chief Administrative Officer, has recommended that Britain's Security Industry Authority have its range of powers expanded to include firms working overseas. This move would create motivation for security firms to authenticate the backgrounds of their employees and would reassure shareholders and customers. Such oversight would add legitimacy to PMCs and could also serve as a step to rid the industry of the yahoo faction. If Armor were to introduce stocks on the London Stock Exchange, they would become the first international security firm to be publicly traded, as opposed to larger conglomerates that have subsidiaries in this field. Intelligence Online; November 19- December 2; pg. 6

In March of 2008, G4S bought 58% of ArmorGroup's shares, effectively taking control of the company. [13]

ArmorGroup is a member of the International Peace Operations Association, the British Association of Private Security Companies and the Private Security Company Association of Iraq.


  • In Iraq, ArmorGroup has a 876,000 pound ($1.54 million) contract, that rose by 50% in July of 2004, to guard the Foreign Office. They also use about 500 Gurkhas to provide protection for the Baghdad headquarters and transport depots of Bechtel and Kellogg Brown and Root.[14][15]
  • ArmorGroup Land Mines won a subcontract from Bechtel in Iraq[16][17].


Corporate Management


Senior Management



SourceWatch Resources

Other External Information


ArmorGroup has ten offices in Africa [20], five offices in Eurasia [21], four offices in South America which still contain the Defense Systems name [22], as well as two in the Far East and their London and American offices.

25 Buckingham Gate
London SW1E 6LD
Tel: (44)20 7808 5800
Fax: (44)20 7828 2845

ArmorGroup North America
One Colonial Place
10571 Telegraph Road
Suite 130
Glen Allen, VA 23059
Tel: (804) 262 0990
Fax: (804) 262 5834