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Bofors is a Swedish company. The name has been associated with the iron industry for more than 350 years.
Located in Karlskoga, Sweden, the company originates from the hammering trip hammer mill "Boofors" founded 1646. The modern corporate structure was created in 1873 with the foundation of Aktiebolaget (AB) Bofors-Gullspång. A leading Swedish steel producer by the early 1870s, Bofors expanded into weapons manufacture when steel produced via the Siemens-Martin process began to be used for gun manufacture. The company's first cannon workshop was opened in 1884. Bofors' most famous owner was Alfred Nobel, who owned the company from 1894 until his death in December 1896. Nobel played the key role in reshaping the former iron and steel producer to a modern cannon manufacturer and chemical industry participant. The powder manufacturer AB Bofors Nobelkrut, later an explosives and general organic-chemical producer, was created in 1898 as a wholly owned subsidiary. By 1911 AB Bofors-Gullspång had outcompeted, bought and closed down its Finspång Swedish competitor in cannon manufacture. The company's name was shortened to AB Bofors in 1919.
In 1986, a $285 million contract between the Government of India and Swedish arms company Bofors was signed for supply of 410 155mm Howitzer field guns. In 1987, Swedish Radio alleged that Bofors paid illegal commissions to top Indian politicians and key defence officials to seal the deal. The scandal contributed to the defeat of Rajiv Gandhi in elections three years later.
In 1999 Saab AB purchased the Celsius Group, then the parent company for Bofors. In September 2000 United Defense Industries (UDI) of the United States acquired Bofors Weapons Systems (the heavy weapons division), while Saab retained the missile interests.
The name Bofors is strongly associated with the 40 mm anti-aircraft gun used by both sides during World War II. This automatic cannon is often simply called the Bofors gun and saw service on both land and sea. It became so widely known that anti-aircraft guns in general were often referred to as Bofors guns. Another well-known gun made by the company was the Bofors 37 mm anti-tank gun, a standard anti-tank weapon used by a variety of armies early in the war. It was built under license in Poland and the USA and was also used in a variety of tanks, including the 7TP and M3A3 Stuart.
- "25 years of India's 'Watergate': The Bofors scandal". Yahoo! News.
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