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Thales Group SWOT and PESTLE analysis

ID : 52315753| Sep 2020


Business Sector :Aerospace and Defense, Aviation

Operating Geography :France, Europe, Global

About Thales Group :

Thales Group is a multinational French company that designs and delivers high technology solutions in the key areas of aerospace, space, ground transportation, defense and security. It is headquartered in La Defense, Paris with 65,118 employees as of 2017 and has a presence in 56 countries. Thales is a key player which provides world class technology to keep the public safe and secure, protecting national interests of nations around the globe. Higher defense spending and strong order book has helped to offset slower telecom growth for Thales sending its shares to record highs in 2018. The company is set to exceed its medium-term targets it set itself in 2014, boding well for the Thales stock.

Thales group’s 5 key business segments are:
• Aerospace- The aerospace sector of Thales provides electronics for both on and off board for air traffic control and management.
• Space- Thales Alenia space offers equipment, satellites, payloads, system and services for space programs.
• Ground transportation- Offers service like supervising and controlling of rail transport networks.
• Defense- Provides safe communication(radio) and information systems along with logistics support.
• Security- Provides Protection systems, critical information systems and cybersecurity.

Thales group’s mission statement reads “Help customers to manage ever more complex environments to make decisions efficiently and quickly at every decisive moment.” Thales group’s vision statement reads “The purpose of Ambition 10, the ten-year strategic plan launched in 2013, is to grow the business and build a more profitable, more international Group. Ambition Boost, the performance programme developed by operating units for operating units, enables Thales to achieve the objectives set out in Ambition 10 and provides a common roadmap to support employee engagement on a day-to-day basis.”

Thales’ USP or unique selling proposition lies in it being the only company globally to offer all end to end air transport solutions under one roof.

Thales Group Revenue :

€ 15.8 billion- FY ending 31st Dec 2017 (y-o-y growth of 7.2%)
€ 14.88 billion- FY ending 31st Dec 2016

Competitive Analysis of Thales Group


The SWOT / TOWS analysis of the Thales group is a structure to assess the internal and external factors that influence the company's micro and macro environment. The SWOT analysis is a convenient technique to examine the current strength, weakness, opportunity, and threats besides their impact on the prevailing business model of the Thales group.

Thales has a legacy of over 100 years and strategizes to accommodate market-specific solutions to diversified market segments, where safety and security are crucial. The company accomplishes a profitable growth by developing technical expertise which also exhibits a competitive advantage over its peers. Some of its area of expertise that happens to be the strengths of the Thales group are the broad portfolio of products and services on offer, strong value chain, proficiency in digital technologies, financial and assets leverage, associates in armed forces of various countries and synergies with other business groups. One of the major weakness of the Thales group is its cost structure, right from R&D to raw material to the technology used, the expenditure is high, hence the overall product or service offered by the company is expensive compared to that of its competitors.

With speedy urbanization globally, air traffic is set to double in the near future stimulating more production of aircraft. Also seen is a growing demand for satellites, highly reliable defense and security systems, efficient transport system and digital transformation. Hence Thales has big opportunities to expand its market share and leverage its revenue. Thales group has been accused of corruption allegations like having the black fund to bribe officials in 2011. Thales group has been accused of corruption allegations. The Company was blacklisted from World Bank for a year in 2004, due to some scams. In 2011 the company was fined for bribing the Taiwan government to acquire a naval contract. These corruption charges have degraded the brand reputation and are a threat to the company and can negatively influence its future business opportunities.

The SWOT / TOWS analysis for Thales Group is presented below in a SWOT Matrix followed by the detailed analysis:

1. R&D Focus on Technology and Innovation
2. Global Brand Recognition
3. Personnel Skill Development
4. Strong Financial Performance
5. International Value Chain
1. Dependency on govt. policies
2. Cost to customers
1. Emerging and new markets
2. Futuristic Technology
3. Industry growth rate
4. Entering New Sectors
1. Falling order intake in mature market.
2. Corruption Charges
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Detailed SWOT Analysis of Thales Group


1. R&D Focus on Technology and Innovation: Innovation has always been part of Thales Group. It has huge investments in innovation with over 25000 employees directly involved in research and development. It represents 3 Billion Euros in revenues and accounts for about 700 million in R&D. At least 300 start-ups were approached by Thales in last 3 years. Thales has 20 joint research labs with institutional partners and 50 partnership agreements with public research institutes and universities. It has been ranked among the world’s top 100 innovators for 4 times and has 16500 patents in its portfolio.

2. Global Brand Recognition: Thales has presence in 50 countries and has connected with 3500 customers from 120 countries via online. Its recent major order intakes include UAV for British Army, Security systems of Netherlands defense locations, military satellite for Middle East customer, Rafael Jets for Indian Army, In-flight entertainment systems for Emirates Boeing Aircraft, orders from European Space Agency, modernization of military traffic management across Bolivia, 1000 Hawkei vehicles for Australian Army. This depth and breadth of contracts shows global brand presence Thales commands through its solutions and services.

3. Personnel Skill Development: Thales has its own in-house university which was established 30 years ago. It supports employee at all key stages of their careers. This helps in keeping them abreast with modern skills necessary for career progression. Employees are exposed to a variety of projects hand-on which helps them develop their interest in an informed way. SimLeads, Design Center and e-learning are some of the methods for assisting employees in their continuous learning and development.

4. Strong Financial Performance: At FY ending 31 Dec 2016, the free operating cash flow remained high at €954 million, due to EBIT growth and advanced payments. Net cash stood at €2366 million, up from €1978 million at end of 2015. Equity also remained steady Y-o-Y at €4640 million as compared to €4646 million (2015). Dividend increased by 18% to €1.60 per share which boosted investor confidence.

5. International Value Chain: The value chain is strong based on meeting international demand and requirements. The R&D unit works closely with universities and helps in developing product portfolio. Thales either directly provides system integration for total solution or delivers it to prime contractor for e.g. another Thales company or a shipyard like Damen Shipyards Group. The suppliers, both local and global of sub-parts are used in production of solutions. When the solution is complete, installation, testing, training, life cycle services are all provided by Thales Group itself to the customer.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


1. Falling order intake in mature market: Order intake in mature markets (Australia, Europe, New Zealand, North America) dropped by 20% from €12,701 million in 2015 to €10,138 million in 2016. The book-to-bill ratio also decreased from 1.34 to 1.11. With Brexit, there is uncertainty in European Aerospace and Defense Sector. UK’s budget spending has been flat since 2015. The number of A&D Merger Acquisition deals also decreased from 235 in 2015 to 188 in 2016. Despite growing order intakes in mature markets overall, Thales’ performance is alarming with respect to its global competitors.

2. Corruption Charges: Thales group has a history of controversies and corruption charges. In 2004, World Bank had blacklisted Thales from its projects for one year because of fraudulent practices in contract for supply and maintenance of motorcycles in Cambodia. There have been other charges like centralized Slush Fund, bribery in Zimbabwe, Taiwanese Naval Order controversy. Also recently in Aug 2017, France indicted Philippe Japiot, former chairman of French Naval Dockyard unit and Jean Perrier, former chief executive of Thales in the Malaysian submarine graft case. To have fulfilling business relationships in future, Thales cannot afford to be in more such accusations.

SWOT & PESTLE (combined)
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Check Out Analysis of Other Relevant Companies

The SWOT and PESTLE Analysis reports of the Thales group provides strategic intelligence on the following aspects:
• The report proffers a quick glance at the internal and external factors in the SWOT and PESTLE Matrices, followed by a detailed interpretation.
• Insights into the SWOT/TOWS Analysis of the Thales Group- investigating in detail, the prevalent Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of Thales group.
• Gain knowledge of how digital transformation has exhibited a competitive advantage to the Thales Group over its competitors.
• The PESTLE/ PESTEL/ STEEPL Analysis for in-depth analysis of all external factors namely, political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental and highlighting their impact on the aerospace and defense industry and largely on the Thales group.
• The SWOT and PESTLE report helps track key facts like market value, market segmentation, diversification, mergers, and acquisitions etc. about the Thales Group.
• Review of the Thales Group’s USP or unique selling proposition, mission statement and vision statement.
• Provides holistic information about Thales group's share price, mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships and alliances, capital raising, and equity transactions.
• Insights into Thales Groups business diversification, eliciting its key business segments.
• Analysis of the acquisitions, mergers, alliances or partnership ventures that Thales Group subscribed with deal valuations and the business objectives or goals that were achieved with them.
• Cognizance of current trends of the aerospace and defense industry and its influences on the Thales group.
• A brief overview of the Thales group’s founders, headquarters, turnover, revenue, subsidiaries and employee strength. Followed by the comprehensive company analysis to gain knowledge about company information, company profile, business model, business plans and marketing strategy.
• Synopsis of Thales group’s business model, along with further division and examination of key business segments and business case study.
• A peek into the Thales group’s key performance indicators, success factors, value proposition and core competencies.
References used in Thales Group Analysis Report

1. Thales -
2. Thales Integrated Report 2017 -
3. Thales Integrated Report 2016 -
4.Thales’ Investor Relations -

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Thales Group SWOT and PESTLE analysis has been conducted by Abhijit Kumar and reviewed by senior analysts from Barakaat Consulting.

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