Thales Group

Thales S.A.
Société Anonyme
Traded as Euronext: HO
Industry Aerospace, Defence, Transport, Security
Predecessor Thomson-CSF
Founded 6 December 2000 (2000-12-06)
Headquarters La Défense, France
Area served
Key people
Patrice Caine (CEO)
Products Tactical radios, remote weapon systems, radar, infantry mobility vehicles, aerospace electronics
Revenue 13.03 billion (2011)[1]
Increase €678.5.3 million (2011)[1]
Profit Increase €511.5 million (2011)[1]
Total assets €21.08 billion (end 2011)[1]
Total equity €4.13 billion (end 2011)[1]
Number of employees
63,730 (end 2010)[1]
Subsidiaries Thales Communications
Thales Air Defence
Thales Underwater Systems
Thales Nederland
Thales Australia
Thales Training & Simulation
Thales Alenia Space

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,[3] 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,[4] and has operations in more than 50 countries. It has 68,000 employees and generated 13.03 billion in revenues in 2011. The Group is ranked as the 475th largest company in the world by Fortune 500 Global.[5] It is also the 10th largest defence contractor in the world[6] and 55% of its total sales are military sales.[4]

The CEO of Thales Group is Patrice Caine since December 2014.[7]


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 (the 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.

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).[8] 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%.[9]


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.

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.[12] Thales holds contracts worth £480 million for providing new signalling for the London Underground.[13]

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

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.[14] 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:[15]


This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

Financial information

Thales' major shareholders are the French state (27.0%) and Dassault Aviation (25.9%).[21]

Corruption allegations

Centralized slush fund

Michel Josserand, former head of THEC, a subsidiary of Thales, and Dominique Monleau, alleged that Thales has a centralized slush fund that it uses to bribe officials.[22]


Main article: Schabir Shaik trial

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.[23]

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.[24]

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 was 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.[25]


See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Annual Results 2011" (PDF). Thales. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  3. "The origin of the name Thales", from the Thales Group official website "Our Brand"
  4. 1 2 "Facts and Figures in 2012". Thales Group. 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  5. Global 500, CNN
  6. The SIPRI Top 100 arms-producing and military services companies in the world excluding China, 2011,, 2011
  7. "Chief Executive Officer", December 31, 2014
  8. Alcatel Press Room Web page of 5 April 2006
  9. "The Thales group Corporate presentation" (PDF). Thales. March 2016. p. 2. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  10. (fr) Thales sélectionné pour sécuriser Galileo, Spyworld Actu, August 25, 2005
  11. SESAR must be applicable globally,, March 2, 2011
  14. "Annual Report 2008" (PDF). Thales. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
  15. International presence,
  16. Thales win multi-million pound missile deal,, May 8, 2003
  17. "Egypt | Thales Group". Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  18. Thales Canada, Aerospace Division is Changing Locations, Market Wire, November 23, 2007
  19. Adam Sandle, Cesar Kuberek and Thales Lead the Way in Latin America, Ground Report, July 2, 2013
  20. "Thales launches Search Master family of AESA radars". Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  21. "Shareholding structure". Thales Group. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-26.
  24. Cambodia: World Bank Sanctions Thales Engineering and Consulting S.A. and Others in Demobilization Project
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