DÜSSELDORF (dpa-AFX) - The arms manufacturer Rheinmetall has rejected criticism of its sports sponsorship. The advertising contracts were intended to initiate a debate as to "whether such a commitment by an arms company is normal now, after the turnaround, or not yet," said Peter Sebastian Krause, Chief Human Resources Officer of the Düsseldorf-based DAX-listed company, to the "Süddeutsche Zeitung". So far, the response has been very positive, said the manager. Rheinmetall recently signed contracts with Champions League finalist Borussia Dortmund and traditional ice hockey club Düsseldorfer EG.

Following the announcement of the Rheinmetall deal, BVB was heavily criticized. Pacifists, human rights organizations and some fans criticized Dortmund for taking money from an arms manufacturer.

According to Krause, the sponsorship was also intended to generate "more visibility and attention among potential applicants". According to Rheinmetall, it needs to fill 5,000 jobs in Germany this year due to the high demand for armaments.

With around 30,000 employees, Germany's largest armaments company is on a growth trajectory, with demand for ammunition, tanks and anti-aircraft guns skyrocketing after the Russian attack on Ukraine. Since the beginning of 2022, the order backlog has risen by around 10 billion euros to 24 billion euros, with sales expected to reach 10 billion euros this year./tas/DP/men