French company Nexter and Germany's Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) have entered into exclusive talks to create a joint venture that would rank as Europe's largest maker of ground armaments, called KANT (KMW and Nexter together). An agreement has been signed by the heads of the companies on 1 July in Paris. This alliance of the two groups under a joint holding company creates a group with an annual turnover nearing 2 billion euros, an order book of around 6.5 billion euro, and more than 6,000 employees, i.e. the biggest European group in land defence. Nexter, maker of the VBCI armoured fighting vehicle and the Leclerc tank, is owned by the French government, while KMW, known for its Leopard tank, is family-owned. The new structure, would be 50 percent held by the French state and 50 percent by the Bode-Wegmann family, with a Franco-German co-presidency for its board. This agreement opens an estimated nine-month discussion phase that would end in the creation of the joint-venture likely in the second quarter of 2015.