Friday, October 31, 2008

Minister of State for Defence Equipment & Support (Min DE&S), Quentin Davies MP, has today visited Thales UK in Glasgow

The Minister of State for Defence Equipment & Support (Min DE&S), Quentin Davies MP, has today visited Thales UK in Glasgow to see some of the special equipment developed by Thales that has recently been sent into theatre to deliver `battle-winning`capability for the UK Armed Forces.

Accompanied by Victor Chavez, Deputy CEO Thales UK and local senior managers, the Minister was given a briefing on Thales UK, its defence businesses in Glasgow, the importance of the site to Scotland and an overview of programmes undertaken at the site.

The Minister also met a range of Thales employees, including Trade Union representatives, apprentices, graduates who have recently joined the company and employees who been with the company for over 30 years.

Victor Chavez, Deputy CEO Thales UK, says: "We are delighted that Quentin Davies has been able to visit us in Glasgow so early in his tenure as Min DE&S and also as we celebrate our 120th anniversary in Glasgow. Glasgow is one of Thales's largest sites in the UK and a key part of the Thales Group globally. We are proud to have supported the Armed Forces from Glasgow since 1888 and the MoD remains our most important customer. We were excited to be able to show him some of the cutting edge technology developed here in Glasgow and the significant investment we are making in Scotland."

The Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, commented: "It is important that I visited Thales early in my tour of Scottish defence companies as it has a long and prestigious history of supply to the Armed Forces and is active in supporting current operations. I was impressed with the investment Thales is making in people, facilities and the development of its business through the Thales Scottish Technology Prize."

Some 650 of Thales UK's 9,000 work force are based at the Glasgow site. The company is an important source of high-tech, high-skill employment in the region and this year has recruited 103 people, including a high number of engineers.

- Ends -

Notes to editors
Thales in Scotland: Thales UK is this year commemorating its 120th anniversary in Scotland. First established in Scotland in 1888 when Professor Archibald Barr of the University of Glasgow and Dr William Stroud of Yorkshire College (now Leeds University) set up Barr & Stroud Ltd to make optical range-finders for the British Army, the company has gone on to become a world centre of excellence for electro-optical systems and equipment, principally for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the international export market. In 2001 it became part of the Thales Group.

In Scotland Thales is a major player in the defence industry and operates at all levels of supply to the MoD from its range of sites. The optronics business in Govan, Glasgow is our principal facility in Scotland employing 650 people across a range of high-tech skills. This site designs and manufactures world-leading electro-optic night vision systems and equipment for all three UK Armed Services.

The Glasgow site has a unique 90-year heritage of exclusive sole UK supplier of periscopes and optronic masts for Royal Navy's submarines, and has also supplied most of the UK's armoured fighting vehicles such as Challenger 2, Warrior and Scimitar vehicles with night vision equipment such as BGTI (Battle Group Thermal Imaging) systems. These vehicles are currently on active service providing our troops with, in many instances, life-saving protective capabilities. The site also manufactures reconnaissance pods, and Infra-Red Search & Track for the Eurofighter Typhoon. Some 30% of employees at the Glasgow facility are engineers and scientists. This site also has an active apprenticeship programme with disciplines including electrical and mechanical engineering.

Thales engages with schools within the Glasgow area to help fulfil its apprenticeship requirements and extends this to include site visits and student placements/work experience to help generate interest in engineering as a future career. We also provide financial support to schools within the immediate area of the site. Similarly, Scottish Universities are normally our first port of call for high-quality graduates to help satisfy our long-term engineering requirements. We have an ongoing and developing dialogue with these Universities to establish potential future partnerships, especially in the areas of engineering skills for product design and development to support our high-technology business. For example we have recently launched the Thales Scottish Technology Prize with Scottish Universities to identify further opportunities for collaborative working between Thales and universities in Scotland.

Thales also operates as a service provider at a number of MoD sites in Scotland, including simulator- and classroom-based military training services at RAF Leuchars for the Tornado F3, at Lossiemouth for the Tornado GR4 and at Kinloss for the Nimrod MR2. Contracted under a PFI arrangement, these services represent a 30-year plus investment in providing military training services and jobs for the MoD in Scotland by Thales.

With currently more than 700 employees in the defence sector in Scotland, Thales has generated more than £650m in sales between 2000 and the end of 2006. Through direct employment or through partnership supplier arrangements with local SMEs, Thales has re-invested more than £250m of business back into the Scottish economy during this period. Thales contribution to the Scottish economy is projected to rise significantly, in relative terms, to more than £550m over the next four years alone.

About Thales and Thales UK
Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, addressing defence, aerospace and security markets worldwide. Thales' leading-edge technology is supported by 22,000 R&D engineers who offer a capability unmatched in Europe to develop and deploy field-proven mission-critical information systems. To this end, the group's civil and military businesses develop in parallel and share a common base of technologies to serve a single objective: the security of people, property and nations. The group builds its growth on its unique multi-domestic strategy based on trusted partnerships with national customers and market players, while leveraging its global expertise to support local technology and industrial development. Thales employs 68,000 people in 50 countries with 2007 revenues in excess of £8.3 bn.

Thales UK employs 9,000 staff based at more than 50 locations. In 2007 Thales UK's revenues were over £1.2 bn.

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