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Orbital Offloads Navigation Business To Thales

recent products from Magellan include handheld devices offering better than 3-meter accuracy.
Paris - May 29, 2001
Thales and Orbital Sciences Corporation of the United States have reached an agreement whereby Thales will acquire all of Orbital Sciences' satellite navigation and positioning businesses for approximately US$70 million.

Two Orbital Sciences subsidiaries are involved in the transaction: Magellan, one of the leading global suppliers of GPS equipment, and NavSol, which is in charge of the Hertz car rental group's satellite-based car navigation service. The closing of the transaction is expected by the end of June 2001.

The two subsidiaries generated combined revenues of US$114 million (130 million euros) in 2000. Magellan is one of the world market leaders in professional, recreational and automotive GPS products and has a strong presence in the United States.

Thales already has a European leadership position in GPS equipment through its subsidiary Thales Navigation (formerly DSNP), which was reinforced in May 2000 through the acquisition of French company MLR, specialists in GPS equipment for merchant marine users, fishing vessels and recreational craft. Together, these two companies generated revenues of 24 million euros in 2000.

"Thanks to the increasing market penetration of GPS receivers, the introduction of new functions and the rapid development of related services, the world GPS market is growing by an estimated 20% annually," said John Hughes, chief executive of Thales' Information Technology & Services (IT&S) business area.

"The acquisition will strengthen the Group's presence in international markets and make it one of the top three suppliers worldwide in this area with combined revenues of around 150 million euros."

Complementary product portfolios and sales networks (Magellan covers the North American market, Thales Navigation is present in Europe and Asia) will drive sales growth on a global basis. In addition, R&D synergies will make it possible to expand the product range and develop common technology platforms to support growth in GPS-related services.

The acquisition should also support growth in Thales subsidiaries with an involvement in positioning applications (Thales Geosolutions and Global Telematics) through the development of common technologies. It offers significant opportunities for synergies with the Group's defense and aerospace businesses.

The acquisition is fully in line with the development strategy being deployed within Thales' IT&S business area, which uses dual-use technology (technology developed for defense needs and applied to commercial markets, and vice versa) to focus on high-growth markets.

Thales' satellite navigation and positioning business is part of its Information Technology & Services (IT&S) business area. Comprising activities in communications components, information systems, secure operations and services & solutions, the IT&S business area represents around 25% of the Group's activities, generating turnover of more than 2 billion euros in 2000 and an annual growth of 27%.

Thales employs 65,000 people in worldwide of whom 50% are based outside of France. Present in nearly 50 countries, Thales generated revenues of $7.9 billion in 2000.

Related Links
Thales Navigation
Magellan GPS
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Magellan Brings Three Meter Accuracy To Handheld GPS
Santa Clara - May 21, 2001
Magellan Corporation, originators of the first GPS handheld, announced today its first shipment of upgraded GPS receivers offering accuracy of better than three meters. Selected Magellan handhelds now feature Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) technology that improves positioning accuracy.

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