Thales Air Defence is an advanced engineering company that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the French parent company of the same name. The Northern Ireland subsidiary is, in turn, the main shareholder in Thales Close Air Defence.
The main activity of the company is the manufacture of missile defence systems and it describes its main products currently as the Starstreak missile and related equipment as well as the VT1 and NLAW missiles.
Each recent year the company has paid a dividend of £15m to the parent company.
Annual turnover peaked at £109m in 2000 and has since tended to fall reaching £73m in 2006. Then in 2007 it increased to over £96m and more recently has fallen to £82m. The company has consistently reported stable operating profits which in 2008 have risen again to over 10% of turnover.
Pre-tax profits in 2007 were increased by an unusual credit from the pension funds which makes a comparison from 2007 to 2008 inappropriate. However, on a comparable basis, pre-tax profits in 2008 were over 30% higher than in 2006.
In recent years average employment has stayed above 510 each year. There was a 2% increase in 2008 but, at 522 people, this is still about 10% lower than earlier in this decade.
With the deduction of dividend payments from the post-tax profits creating a reduction in the amount from profit and loss carried to the balance sheet, the book value of shareholders funds has been falling slightly in recent years.