Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 August 2019

French defence electronics group Thales sees Middle East sales topping €1.6bn

The Paris-based company which designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security markets is setting up a UAE unit

“Going forward we are looking at increasing this local share in certain programmes,” she said. Pawan Singh / The National
“Going forward we are looking at increasing this local share in certain programmes,” she said. Pawan Singh / The National

French defence electronics group Thales, which is buying Dutch data security firm Gemalto for €4.8 billion (Dh20bn), expects the acquisition to help boost its presence in the Middle East, which accounts for 10 per cent of its global annual sales.

Gemalto, whose acquisition is expected to be closed by March, will bring complementary business to the Middle East, which generated €1.6bn in revenue in 2017, said Pascale Sourisse, senior executive vice-president of international development at Thales. She was speaking at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) taking place in Abu Dhabi this week.

“They have a very strong business in the field of banking sector, payment solutions, payment cards as well as e-payments and that is something that will also complement our portfolios,” said Ms Sourisse, adding that the company’s strength in fields that include security and telecommunications will also buoy its presence in the region.

Thales, which counts the French government as its biggest single investor with a 26 per cent stake, expects an order intake of €15.5bn for 2018. The company aims to boost the local content in many of the areas where it operates.

“Going forward we are looking at increasing this local share in certain programmes,” she said. “We have contracts that are completely taken locally by our entities.”

The Middle East is among the company’s fastest growing regions, said Ms Sourisse. The company also hopes to grow the region’s 2,000-strong workforce by 20 per cent by 2020.

Thales is setting up a UAE entity that will work on localising and transferring technologies in the country as part of efforts to boost the industrial sector and support its growth.

Thales Emarat Technologies, which is 100 per cent owned by the parent company, will focus on radar, radio communications and a variety of defence aerospace technologies, Thales said in a statement on Wednesday.

Updated: February 20, 2019 05:21 PM

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