Thales Group

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Thales S.A.
TypeSociété Anonyme
CAC Next 20 Component
IndustryAerospace, Defence, Transport, Security
Founded6 December 2000; 21 years ago (2000-12-06)
Area served
Key people
Patrice Caine (CEO)
ProductsTactical radios, remote weapon systems, radar, infantry mobility vehicles, aerospace electronics
RevenueTemplate:Gain 14.885 billion (2016)[1]
Template:Gain €1.354 billion (2016)[1]
Template:Gain €946 million (2016)[1]
Number of employees
64,000 (end 2016)[1]

Thales Group (French: [talɛs]) 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[2] (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 [talɛs] 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,[3] and has operations in more than 56 countries. It has 64,000 employees and generated 14.9 billion in revenues in 2016. It is also the 10th largest defence contractor in the world[4] and 55% of its total sales are military sales.[3]

The CEO of Thales Group is Patrice Caine since December 2014.[5]


The research centre of Thales in the business cluster of Paris-Saclay, France.

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).

Thales formed a joint venture with Raytheon in June 2001 to combine their radar and communications systems divisions. Named ThalesRaytheonSystems, the firm is 50% owned by both parent companies.

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 2006 Thales acquired Australian Defence Industries, a major manufacturer of military equipment such as smokeless gunpowder and the Bushmaster IMV.

In 2008, Thales acquired British Hardware security module vendor nCipher.[6]

In 2016, Thales acquired Vormetric, a data security company, for $400M.[7]

In 2017 it acquired Guavas[8] and bid €4.76B for digital security company Gemalto.[9]

Alcatel deal

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 €1.57 billion ($2.27 billion).

As of 31 December 2014, Thales Group was owned 26.4% by the Government of France, 25.3% by Dassault Aviation, and 48.3% float, including employee ownership of 2%.[10]


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.

Thales Air Defence produces a range of short-range missile systems such as the Starstreak surface-to-air missile.


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.[13]

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".[14]

Ground transportation

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.[15] Thales is to modernize 40 per cent of London Tube network London Underground.[16]

In Denmark Thales now owns 100% the "East-west Consortium" contracted for a country-wide travel card (Danish: "Rejsekort").[1].

In India, Thales has been contracted by Hyderabad Metro Rail to control train automation and communication services for the metro in Hyderabad.

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.[17]

Other activities

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 Navigation, a division that produced GPS units, was sold to private equity group Shah Capital Partners and renamed Magellan.

Thales international

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.[18] 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:[19]


Financial information

Thales' major shareholders are the French state (27.0%) and Dassault Aviation (25.9%).[26]

Corruption allegations

Centralised slush fund

Michel Josserand, former head of THEC, a subsidiary of Thales, and Dominique Monleau, alleged that Thales has a centralised slush fund that it uses to bribe officials.[27]


Schabir Shaik, the financial advisor to the president of the African National Congress party Jacob Zuma, was found guilty of organising a bribe on behalf of Thomson-CSF.[28]

World Bank

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.[29]

Taiwanese naval order

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.[30]


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Annual Results 2016". Thales Group. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  2. "Le siège social du groupe Thales s'installe à La Défense" (PDF). Thales Group. 5 January 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "About us". Thales Group. 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  4. "The SIPRI Top 100 arms‑producing and military services companies, 2016". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. December 2017.
  5. "Patrice Caine". Thales Group.
  6. John Leyden (11 July 2008). "Thales swoops on nCipher for hardware encryption goodness". The Register.
  7. John Leyden (20 October 2015). "Thales buys Vormetric for $400m in major security biz push". The Register.
  8. "Thales acquires Guavus, one of the pioneers of real-time big data analytics". Thales Group. 28 April 2017.
  9. Francois de Beaupuy; Marie Mawad (18 December 2017). "Thales Outflanks Atos With Surprise $5.6 Billion Gemalto Bid". Bloomberg.
  10. "The Thales group Corporate presentation" (PDF). Thales Group. March 2017. p. 2. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  11. "Thales sélectionné pour sécuriser Galileo". Spyworld Actu (in French). 25 August 2005.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  12. SESAR must be applicable globally,[dead link], March 2, 2011
  13. "Thales completes the acquisition of Aveillant, world pioneer in holographic radar technology". Nov 29, 2017.
  14. "Thales wins A$1.2 billion air traffic deal in Australia". Reuters. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  15.[permanent dead link]
  16. "Thales to modernize 40 per cent of London Tube network". Thales Group. 3 August 2015.
  17. "Joo Koon train collision: Signalling system provider Thales 'could have done better', says Khaw Boon Wan". Channel News Asia. Nov 21, 2017.
  18. "Annual Report 2016" (PDF). Thales. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  19. "Our Global Prensence". Thales Group.
  20. "Thales win multi-million pound missile deal". 8 May 2003.
  21. "Egypt". Thales Group. Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  22. "Thales investit 20 millions d'euros à Nouaceur pour sa rutilante usine d'impression 3D". (in French). 7 September 2017.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  23. "Thales Canada, Aerospace Division is Changing Locations". Market Wire. 23 November 2007.
  24. Adam Sandle (2 July 2013). "Cesar Kuberek and Thales Lead the Way in Latin America". Ground Report.
  25. "Thales launches Search Master family of AESA radars". Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  26. "Shareholding structure". Thales Group. 31 December 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  27. "Section socialiste de l'île de Ré » Thales à la barre du tribunal". Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  28. "Thales firms in Zuma indictment". BBC News. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  29. "Cambodia: World Bank Sanctions Thales Engineering and Consulting S.A. and Others in Demobilization Project". The World Bank Group. 22 November 2004.
  30. "Thales and French Government to Share in Fine for Taiwanese Bribes". 10 June 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2016.

External links

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