Esperanza y Cia
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Esperanza y Cia, SA (Ecia) is a well-known brand of defense equipment manufacturer based in the city of Markina-Xemein province of Vizcaya, Basque Country in Spain. from its origins, Ecia has focused primarily on the design and manufacture of mortars and ammunition.
The arms factory, Esperanza y Cia SA (Ecia) was founded in 1925 by prominent businessman Juan Esperanza-Salvador (1860–1951), Huesca, one of the co-founders of Astra, Unceta and Cia. Ecia picked up the know how which Esperanza and Pedro Unceta had previously accumulated in Eibar and Gernika through the signature "Esperanza and Unceta", later known as Astra-Unceta.
Its first activity was the manufacture of guns, under patent from Alkartasuna Eibar, and then designed his own semi-automatic pistol (known as ECIA) and a light machine gun. In the 1940s production capabilities reached new levels with the development of lines of infantry mortars and their ammunition, the products that the company would prosper on.
In the 1970s it became Spain's largest weapons exporter, with total sales of 10 million euros, ahead of another Basque firm, Explosivos Alaveses. At that time there were seven companies from Basque Country among the top ten Spanish weapons manufacturers. But the industry entered a deep crisis in the 1980s, due to a decline in domestic and foreign demand.
In the 1980s, under the new name, Esperanza y Cia Explosives, entered into partnership with Unión Explosivos Rio Tinto, which grew up to 40% of the shares, and managed to survive through projects like the Euromortar.
Ecia which became to employ about 300 people, reputedly have used loyalists prisoners of war from the Spanish Civil War as slave labour, Its reputation also suffered from his connection with the sale of arms to war-torn countries like Iraq or Iran, for the alleged use of Israeli technology; and even for the terrorist attacks suffered by their stocks and managers.
It did not help the situation of its main shareholder, ERT, which declared bankruptcy in 1992, as Esperanza Y Cia. closed its main plant in Markina in 1994. A small part of its research units remains integrated into Alaveses Explosives-Expal, which would also ceased to operate in 2004. Another 20 workers created Ecia-Xemein to manufacture metal parts.
- ↑ Historicó de Biskaia
- ↑ El País 12/04/1979 Esperanza, primer exportador de armas 
- ↑ El País 02/02/1986 Los morteros de Esperanza y Cía, SA 
- ↑ El País 17/04/1989 La empresa vasca Ecia encabeza el proyecto del euromortero 
- ↑ El Mundo 12 de febrero de 1999 Expal fabrica bombas de aviación para Turquía
- ↑ El País 18/04/2004 La fábrica alavesa Expal, con 84 trabajadores, anuncia el cierre