Thales Chairman of the Board Patrice Kane opened the shareholders’ meeting with a high-tech expert at a low-income meeting, as shareholders were once again able to choose between face-to-face and video streaming. this year. Investir had 135 mandates representing 8,850 shares.
The board of directors, as always, was present. Shareholders were also asked to vote for the reinstatement of six of the group’s sixteen directors, including four nominated by Dassault Aviation’s industrial partner Charles Edelsten, Groupe Industriel CEO Marcel Dass, Eric Trappier and Loika Tagalen, respectively. Deputy General Manager of Dassault Aviation. The mandate of Thales Director-General Patrice Kane has also been renewed at the suggestion of the Public Sector. The classic presentation of the group was a topic of education, which was appreciated by the shareholders present, which allowed to best illustrate the various activities of the company, represented at three levels: civil aeronautics and space, defense and security. , digital identification and security. Patrice Kane, Chairman of the Board of Directors, confirmed the uninterrupted sale of signaling activities on rail transport, announced in August 2021, which should be completed, as planned, in late 2022 or early 2023.
The group also reminded of the solidity of the results obtained last year, in particular the historical commercial activity. While the company receives several thousand contracts each year, including a large number of small ones (millions of euros), some are more significant and highlighted, such as contracts for the sale of Rafale to Greece, Croatia and Egypt or second generation. satellites in the European positioning constellation Galileo – the most accurate in the world – for which Thales will supply the next six satellites and ground equipment. ” For one euro of investment in the space segment, you need one euro in the terrestrial segment “- said Patrice Kane. Another significant contract was the sale of American Airlines entertainment equipment.
CFO Pascal Buchia highlighted the profitability achieved last year at the level of the best players in the sector, which allowed Thales to surpass last year’s record of 2019 in free cash with 2.5 billion euros, which is a new record. . The company also raised its goal of converting its net income – accounting item – to ” real money – formation of cash flow, which should be 100% during 2022-2023.
More CSR, but less discounts
The group’s commitment to CSR was not absent from the presentations, as the company has made numerous commitments, as Isabel Simon, the group’s general secretary, recalled, about four pillars. ” for a greener, safer and more inclusive world “Diversity and Inclusion, Health and Safety, Climate and Low Carbon Strategy, Anti-Corruption and Influence Trade. ” Peace and security can no longer be taken for granted if we want to be sustainable. Our big investors have started to look at our business differently commented Patrice Kane. Non-financial performance criteria were also set for variable pay for 60% of the group’s employees, ie 48,000 out of 80,000 people.
The group has also calculated its good prospects with the resumption of aeronautics, the steady growth of space markets and strong digital security, largely due to Gemalto’s integration. As for defense, growth ” sturdy in all areas where Thales works. His products ” meet the needs of modern armies And will allow it to capture more than the growth of its markets. Thus, in 2022-2024, Thales expects to increase its activities by 6% against 1-3% of American or European competitors. The company has new needs: joint struggle, defense cloud, the threat of drones. When asked by the shareholder about the consequences of the war in Ukraine, Patrice Kane clarified that ” at present it has little short-term impact on turnover. There will probably be no increase in 2022. Defense cycles are long, long, and it is unlikely that countries’ budget planning will change in the short term. But in the medium term, we have probably entered a fairly long period of growth in defense budgets, ie 10-15 years. The change in the share price from 2019 is probably due to the policy of ESG investment funds. The exclusion policy affected the price, which led to a discount of up to 30% of the price. But today, in our dialogue with institutional investors, we see that they are reviewing their overall ESG policy. The effect of the discount should disappear or, in any case, be less noticeable for the ranks of defense companies “.
To ensure its growth, the group must both attract talent – after 10,000 new employees last year, the group seeks to hire 11,000 people – and support its research and development: it is about 3.5 billion euros, of which 1/3 is self-funded . , and should be 6.5% of turnover in the medium term.
Neither Athos nor Russia
Finally, shareholders questioned management on two issues that are often mentioned in newspapers, namely, Thales ‘interest in or not in Atos’ cybersecurity activities. Thus, Patrice Kane noted that ” first, if it makes sense, we have the ability to move. After selling the vehicle, we want to focus on the three whales, not diversify again. Yes, cybersecurity is one of the topics we pay attention to when the opportunity arises. We are more engaged in medium-sized acquisitions, the value of the company is about 500 million. At Atos, we do not comment on specific cases. There are no discussions, everyone goes their own way and we need to do a lot “.
As for Russia, today we no longer operate in Russia. Historically, we have had three activities: in civil aeronautics (SSJ100 capital), in space, with a long history of French-Russian cooperation and Gemalto, a center for personalizing bank cards, each worth about 50 million euros. By the way, about the arms contracts that existed before the embargo in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. The embargo clearly defined what was and what was not: it was no longer possible to sign new contracts with Russia, but, it was my grandfather’s condition, the previous contracts had to end. Therefore, we have provided deliveries after 2014 to 2019. And since 2019, Russia has not received Thales equipment. Therefore, we have fully respected international and national legislation on defense embargoes “.
All resolutions have been adopted. A dividend of 2.56 euros will be withdrawn on May 17 with payment on May 19.