'GROUND Transportation is a core activity at the heart of Thales' strategy', confirmed Senior Vice-President Jean-Paul Lepeytre on May 23, during a presentation in Helsinki to outline developments since the company took over the Alcatel Transportation Systems business in January (RG 6.06 p361).

Identifying the company's role as a 'mission-critical information systems integrator', Lepeytre said that bringing together Alcatel's expertise in signalling, train control and communications with Thales' fare collection activities had created 'a comprehensive portfolio of safety and security solutions'.

Combined turnover for the group's ground transport activities was around €1·5bn in 2006, with rail accounting for two-thirds. Within this, he said, the Thales businesses contributed around one-third compared to two-thirds for the former Alcatel TS activities.

Along with aerospace and security, transport operations are part of the civil activities that now account for almost half of Thales' annual revenues. These have been grouped into the company's new Security Solutions & Services Division. Known as D3S, this has around 20 000 employees and a turnover of €3·2bn.

Thales has spent the first few months consolidating the two marketing and sales operations, freeing up resources to develop new business. Lepeytre is keen to 'give customers more value' by offering an integrated package from which they can pick the elements they need. He also wants to develop the service aspects of the business, working alongside customers to establish a long-term relationship. Thales already has local business units to support some key markets and this is set to continue. Service and maintenance contracts currently account for around 25% of turnover, he said.

  • On May 23 Thales announced it had won a €10·5m contract to supply centralised control and telecom systems for the automated metro under construction in Thessaloniki, including CCTV and information systems for trains and stations.