14 Feb 02. Thales group revenues totalled €10,273m in 2001, a 19.7% increase(2000 €8,580m). Revenues grew by 5.6% on a like-for-like basis.
Revenue growth attributable to first-time consolidations remains substantial over the year as a whole. The pace slackened in the second half, as the UK company Racal, acquired in June 2000, was already consolidated from July 2000. In pursuit of its multi-domestic policy, Thales acquired, in January 2001, optronics specialist Avimo located in Singapore and the UK. In addition, Thales now fully-consolidates its subsidiary Thales Underwater Systems, following the purchase of BAE Systems’ 49% interest, and also Thales ATM, its air traffic control subsidiary, after having bought out the 33% interest held by Siemens.
The IT & S business area reinforced its satellite positioning business with the acquisition of the North American company Magellan, which was consolidated from mid-year. This purchase made Thales a world leader in satellite navigation systems for use in geological prospecting (especially for oil and gas exploration), navigation and fleet management. Since January 2002 all these activities have been combined within the new “Positioning Based Solutions” business group (sales €350m in 2001). The IT & S business area also bolstered its position in secure transactions with the acquisition of Alcatel CGA Transport, an electronic ticketing specialist.
Meanwhile, Thales continued to refocus this business area’s operations with the disposal of Thales Instruments (sales €10m for the first ten months of the year, included in consolidated revenues). This disposal was completed in November 2001. Other smaller divestments were also made in 2001.
In 2001, the Defence business area sales advanced 5.3%, on a like-for-like basis. Figures for individual business groups were rather contrasted, reflecting timing differences in billings. The fastest growing sectors were air defence, airborne and optronics systems. The defence business contributed €5,746m (2000: €4,934m)to consolidated sales.
The sharp growth in aerospace sales (8.5% on a like-for-like basis) stemmed particularly from a very steep rise in billings on simulation systems.
Organic growth in IT & S sales averaged 4.1%. The steepest increases were recorded in electronic tubes, project engineering and multimedia solutions, as well as in secure transactions and information systems. On the other hand, sales in telecom-related activities were down sharply compared to the previous year.
Overall, the relative contribution of the three business areas to consolidated sales remains practically unchanged compared to 2000.
In 2001, Thales generated 59% of its sales in Europe, more or less unchanged from the previous year’s 60%. French sales (up 14%) accounted for a quarter of consolidated sales (versus 26% in 2000). UK sales jumped 54% and now account for 15% of the consolidated total, compared with 11% in 2000. Thales’ British subsidiaries in all three business areas accounted for the bulk of sales in the UK.
Sales outside Europe advanced 22.5 % to €4.3bn. These were split more or less equally between the Asia-Pacific region (€1.3bn), the Near and Middle East (€1.2bn) and North America (€1.2bn). The sharpest increase (+ 43%) was recorded in North America, which accounted for 12% of Thales’ consolidated sales, compared with 10% in 2000.