War profiteer profile: Cheddite

A mass protest in Myanmar. The photo shows hundreds of people in a street, from above
Mass protests in Myanmar were met with deadly force by the state security forces

Cheddite is a French-Italian company with headquarters in Livorno, Italy and Bourg-lès-Valence, France. They are one of the world’s largest manufacturers of empty shot gun shells and primers. In 2021 they reported a turnover of €58.4m, and a net income of €4.5m The company was established in 1901, manufacturing explosives for use in mining and quarrying, and moved into the production of shotgun shells and primers in the 80s.

As well as fully completed shotgun shells, Cheddite also shells and primers to other companies who, in turn, add their own gunpowder and projectile before selling them on. The projectile can take many forms, from a large number of small spheres made out of metal or rubber, to single large projectiles, sometimes called “slugs”, which can be made from a wide range of materials. The company advertises its products as for use by hunters. However, a number of times the company’s products have been identified as being used by oppressive regimes against protesters.

Use for oppression

There are at least two examples of Cheddite shotgun shells being found following extreme violence by oppressive regimes, targetting protesters: in Iran in 2022, and Myanmar in 2021. In both cases arms embargoes were meant to restrict the movement of weapons and equipment.


An EU Council regulation passed in 2011 is meant to stop the “export, directly or indirectly, [of] equipment which might be used for internal repression" in Iran, including "firearms, ammunition and related accessories". Despite this, Cheddite cartridges were found in multiple cities as police forces tried to stop mass protests. Hundreds of people were killed during the protests by the authorities, including many from gunshot wounds.

An investigation by The Observers for France24 identified photos of Cheddite cartridges being widely shared on online Iranian hunting forums since 2013. It appears the cartridges were filled and sold in Iran by a company called Shahid Shiroudi Military Industries, identifed by the brand name Shahin.


After images of Cheddite shells were photographed in Myanmar during protests against a military coup in 2021, Italian investigators tried to understand how the shells arrived there. It appears they may have used a Turkish company YAF, - itself owned by ZSR Patlayici Sanayi A.S. - as an intermediary.

Twitter posts appear to show spent Cheddite shotgun shell casings retrieved from the ground in Myanmar, alongside images of what appear to be ZSR rubber bullets (though it is not clear from the photos if the photos are showing the same shell).


However, Cheddite has previously owned shares in YAF, which Italian journalists claim “would have allowed the Anatolian company to produce and market Cheddite-Yaf branded cartridges on its own”.

Researchers from Amnesty International also tweeted about the relationship between Cheddite and ZSR in 2021, at the time of the protests against the coup.



In May 2023, activists in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, collected at least 50 shotgun casings used by the Senegalese security forces to crackdown on anti-government protesters. At least 23 deaths were documented by Amnesty International.

Programmes & Projects
Police militarisation theme

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