Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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1893 Compagnie Française Thomson-Houston was set up as a partner to General Electric Co[1].

1968 Merger of the electronics arm of Thomson Brandt with Compagnie Générale de Télégraphie Sans Fil (CSF) to create Thomson-CSF.

1973 Thomson-CSF established a UK branch office[2]

1982 Thomson-CSF was 40 per cent owned by Thomson Brandt when it was nationalized. Shortly afterwards, in 1982, Thomson increased its interest in Thomson-CSF to more than 50 per cent, through purchases of shares from nationalised banks and insurance companies.

Between 1983 and 1987 the telecommunications and medical businesses were sold off; the semiconductor business was merged into SGS-Thomson, a 50:50 joint venture with Finmeccanica-IRI of Italy.

1984 Established UK subsidiary company

By 1988 Electronics and Defence Systems represented 92 per cent of the group's revenues.

c.1989 Acquired the larger part of Philips' European defence businesses

1990 Acquired Link-Miles, maker of flight simulators and training provider, from Biocoastal Corporation of the United States; this was added to Thomson-CSF's own simulator activities; formed JV with Ferranti Sonar and another with Aérospatiale on avionics.

Activities included avionics, sonar, weapons and weapon systems, radars, radio communications, information technology, components and tubes, professional television equipment and field and support services.

1993 Acquired 49 percent of Short Missile Systems of Belfast, Rediffusion and Ferranti Systems

1994 Acquired the naval communications business Redifon and the defence business of Thorn-EMI

1996 Formed JV with GEC Marconi Sonar

1999 Acquired the remaining share of Short Missiles

2000 Acquired Racal for £1.3 billion allowing the group to become a systems integrator; also acquired Pilkington Optronics and Avimo, maker of infra-red cameras and thermal imaging.

2000 The company changed its name to Thales

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Wikipedia
  2. The Times, January 28, 2003
  • Competition Commission 1991