Safran has entered negotiations with Thales to acquire the French avionics OEM’s aeronautical electrical systems business next year, the companies said Tuesday. The talks involve Thales’s electric power conversion activity, which also plays a role in power generation and electric motors in the civil and military aeronautics sector.
The proposed acquisition includes Thales Avionics Electrical Systems and Thales Avionics Electrical Motors companies, which operate sites in the Paris region in Chatou, Meru, and Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, as well as the support, maintenance, and production activities for aeronautical electrical equipment in Florida and Singapore.
With the potential acquisition, Safran Electrical & Power aims to position itself more broadly across the entire electrical supply chain.
Like rival aero engines group Rolls-Royce, Safran now places a high priority on the burgeoning electric aviation sector. New projects in the works at Safran include its EngineUs family of electric motors, which would power aircraft under development by a pair of French start-ups, VoltAero and Aura Aero. At the same time, Safran supports Bye Aerospace’s efforts to bring to market its eFlyer family of all-electric aircraft.
Safran noted the addition of the electrical conversion business would contribute significantly to its portfolio of activities and allow for further expansion in the field of electrical power generation, particularly in the defense and helicopter markets.
“We are delighted with the prospect of joining forces with Thales's electrical teams, which will give us even greater competence over the electrical chain, thanks in particular to their leading skills in electrical conversion,” said Safran Electrical & Power CEO Stéphane Cueille. “The complementary nature of our expertise will also enable us to provide the market with ever more relevant and effective solutions."
For Thales, the potential sale constitutes part of the group's strategy to refocus on its core businesses in aerospace, defense and security, and digital identity and security.
The proposed transaction remains subject to the information and consultation procedure with the relevant employee representative bodies of Thales and Safran as well as the usual regulatory approvals, said the companies. Thales's aeronautical electrical systems business employs nearly 600 people and generated revenues of €124 million last year.