CAC Next 20 Component
|Industry||Aerospace, Defence, Transport, Security|
|Founded||6 December 2000|
|Headquarters||La Défense, France|
|Patrice Caine (CEO)|
|Products||Tactical radios, remote weapon systems, radar, infantry mobility vehicles, aerospace electronics|
|Revenue||EUR14.885 billion (2016)|
|EUR1.354 billion (2016)|
|EUR946 million (2016)|
Number of employees
|64,000 (end 2016)|
Thales Group (French: [tal?s]) is a French multinational company that designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security markets. Its headquarters are in La Défense (the business district of Paris), and its stock is listed on the Euronext Paris.
The company changed its name to Thales (from the Greek philosopher Thales, pronounced [tal?s] reflecting its pronunciation in French) from Thomson-CSF in December 2000 shortly after the £1.3 billion acquisition of Racal Electronics plc, a UK defence electronics group. It is partially state-owned by the French government, and has operations in more than 56 countries. It has 64,000 employees and generated EUR14.9 billion in revenues in 2016. It is also the 10th largest defence contractor in the world and 55% of its total sales are military sales.
The CEO of Thales Group is Patrice Caine since December 2014.
Thales' predecessor, Thomson-CSF, evolved from Compagnie Française Thomson-Houston (CFTH), which was established in 1893. However Thomson-CSF itself was established in 1968 when Thomson-Brandt (then renamed CFTH) merged its electronics arm with that of Compagnie Générale de Télégraphie Sans Fil (CSF).
In 2002 Thales set up the joint venture company Armaris with the French shipbuilder DCN to offer a total "bottom up" shipbuilding capability.
In 2002, Thales Broadcast Multimedia, a former subsidiary of Thales, provided China with standard short-wave radio-broadcasting equipment designed for general public radio broadcasting. Although the contract was not at all for the purpose of jamming foreign radio stations broadcasting to China, it now appears that this is what the ALLISS antennas are being used for.
In 2003 Thales UK's design won the competition for the Royal Navy Future Carrier (CVF) and the company now participates in an alliance company with BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence. This Thales design may form the basis of the Future French aircraft carrier which the company has agreed to build with DCN.
In April 2006, Thales announced it would be acquiring Alcatel's space business (67% of Alcatel Alenia Space and 33% of Telespazio), and Alcatel's Rail Signalling Solutions division in a deal which also raised Alcatel's ownership of Thales to 21.66 percent. The French government would also decrease its ownership in Thales to 27.1 percent from 31.3 percent as part of the acquisition. The deal would also include the Systems Integration activities (those not dedicated to telecoms operators, and covering mainly the transport and energy sectors). In December 2008, Alcatel agreed to sell a 20.8% stake in French engineering group Thales SA to Dassault Aviation SA for EUR1.57 billion ($2.27 billion).
Thales Group has made many electronic devices and equipment used by the French Armed Forces from its past as Thomson-CSF, including the SPECTRA helmet for the army and the gendarmerie. It has worked with Dassault Aviation on the Rafale and made its SPECTRA defensive aids. Thales often worked with DCNS and designed the electronics used on French ships, and it is involved in the construction of both the Horizon and FREMM programs. Thales, as Thomson-CSF, was involved in the Taiwan frigates scandal, relating to the sale of La Fayette class frigates to Taiwan. It is also present in Eurosam as Thomson-CSF was a founder of the consortium along Aérospatiale and Alenia Aeronautica. In February 2004, Thales was awarded a contract for a new command and control system for the French Navy, the SIC 21, that will be fitted on the Charles de Gaulle, many vessels and shore locations. Additionally, the Future French aircraft carrier involved Thales as the main designer of the ship. Thales is also working on X-ray imaging, finances, energy and operating commercial satellites.
By 2012 the company is mainly composed of five branches: Defense, Security, Space, Aerospace and Ground transportation.
Among the EU supported projects Thales participates in are:
The company's design won the competition for the Royal Navy Future Carrier (CVF). It is part of the AirTanker consortium, the winning bid for the RAF's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft. Thales UK won the contract for the British Army UAV programme, Watchkeeper. It also produces the SWARM remote weapon station. Thales simulators include full motion devices as well as flat panel and other training facilities.
The Thales ATM (Air Traffic Management) solution is marketed under the name "TopSky", previously named "EuroCat". Thales supplies avionics to civil aircraft manufacturers, including Fly-By-Wire systems, cockpit systems, navigation computers, satellite communication, inflight entertainment and electrical systems.
In November 2017, Thales acquired a UK radar provider called Aveillant who produces software-defined holographic radar technology, which is able to detect small targets such as drones.
In February 2018, Thales wins on a A$1.2 billion ($946 million) contract with Airservices Australia and the Australian Department of Defence to unify Australia's civil and military airspace under a single air traffic control system, named "OneSKY".
Thales has major involvement in the UK rail industry as a result of the Racal merger and the 2006 acquisition of Alcatel's Rail Signalling Solutions division and transport business. Thales is to modernize 40 per cent of London Tube network London Underground.
In Singapore, Thales was involved in a train collision resulting from a compatibility issue between the old signalling system's interface, and the new one. The accident resulted in 38 minor injuries.
Thales is also a major manufacturer of in-flight entertainment systems on board airliners. Thales' primary competitors in this area of business include Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Rockwell Collins, and LiveTV (originally owned by JetBlue, now owned by Thales).
Thales' international subsidiaries generated 52% of the company's revenue in 2008, with Thales UK being the largest of these accounting for 13% of group revenue. Its large presence in the UK (largely as a result of the Racal acquisition) has resulted in several high-profile contracts.
Thales has offices in:
In 2004 the World Bank's Integrity Unit blacklisted Thales from any of the World Bank's projects for one year because of its fraudulent practices in a US$6.9 million contract for the supply and maintenance of motorcycles in Cambodia.
Around 1991-1993, French state owned Elf Aquitaine was involved (with other companies & countries) in selling frigates to Taiwan. On June 10, 2011 Thales Group and the French Government were ordered to pay 630 million euros (almost a billion US dollars) in fines after the courts heard that bribes had been paid to the Taiwanese government to win this large naval contract. Part (about 27%) of the responsibility was transferred to Thales Group because it held the legacy from Thomson-CSF. To this day, this is the largest corruption case in French history.