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Thales sells its high tech optics unit

26 Sep 2005

Defense giant Thales sees its high tech optics business as "non-core" and sells it for EURO 220 million in cash.

Thales has sold its High Tech Optics (HTO) division to Candover for EURO 220 million in cash. Regarded as non-strategic for Thales, the sale includes HTO's activities in the UK, US, Singapore, Germany and Hungary and is subject to regulatory approval.

HTO employs around 1400 staff and reported an annual revenue of EURO 124 million in 2004. As a whole, the Thales group has 60,000 employees and generated a revenue of EURO 10.3 billion in 2004.

"With this sale, Thales has divested non-core businesses," said Jean-Loup Picard of Thales. "It has been our strategic intent to refocus the business on our core activities to strengthen our position as a large systems integrator and equipment and services provider in defense and security. This divestment will provide further considerable financial resources for both organic and external expansion in such areas."

Candover is a private equity organisation that specialises in European buyouts. "HTO fits Candover's investment criteria perfectly: it is a global leader in its field, it has a niche position in industry with significant growth potential and enjoys long and established relationships with its large customer base," explained Cyril Zivre, director of Candover.

Thales HTO has four key specialities suiting both military and civil applications: infantry night vision, optical components, optical modules and optical coatings.

HTO's principal operations are in the UK and Singapore. In the UK, it specialises in the design and manufacture of complex optical modules and components for applications in avionics, defense optics, night vision and space.

The Singapore arm of the business makes high-precision optical components and sub-assemblies for the defense night-vision market as well as the medical and instrumentation market.

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