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Best Treasury Transformation Project Winner: Thales Group

Published: Jan 2024
Photo of Wee Lee Loh, Thales Group, Ruchika Gupta, BNP Paribas, Aidan McDonald, Kyriba and Rachid Ouazizi, Thales Group.

Photo of Wee Lee Loh, Thales Group, Ruchika Gupta, BNP Paribas, Aidan McDonald, Kyriba and Rachid Ouazizi, Thales Group.

Wee Lee Loh

Regional Treasurer – Asia/China-HK
Thales Group

Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global leader in advanced technologies, investing in digital and ‘deep tech’ innovations – connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum technologies – to build a confident future crucial for the development of our societies. The Group provides its customers – businesses, organisations and governments – in the defense, aeronautics, space, transport, and digital identity and security domains with solutions, services and products that help them fulfil their critical role, consideration for the individual being the driving force behind all decisions.

Thales has 77,000 employees in 68 countries. In 2022, the Group generated sales of €17.6bn.

in partnership with

BNP Paribas logo
Kyriba logo

Global acquisition drives treasury transformation and delivers significant milestones for Thales in Asia

The challenge

With the completed acquisition of Gemalto [now known as Thales Digital Identity & Security (DIS)] in 2019, Thales tripled its workforce in Asia, notably in Singapore as its regional hub. It was therefore critically important for Thales to integrate the larger APAC subsidiaries into its global set-up as seamlessly as possible, within defined timelines with efficient, effective and sustainable solutions.

The acquisition offered the opportunity to consolidate, integrate and harmonise its treasury and banking infrastructure. Correspondingly, the scale of this project involved the daunting task of integrating and realigning transactional and operational flows in more than 61 legal entities with 299 bank accounts and over 19 currencies.

The challenges included legacy systems, disparate processes, integrating a treasury management system (TMS) platform, and aligning, standardising and automating treasury operations by adopting new technologies to enable DIS to adopt Thales Group standards.

Thales’ regional treasury team, with strong endorsement from its headquarters, executed a multi-level strategy centred around the following work streams over a three-year journey:

  1. Strengthening regional treasury setup and decisioning.

  2. Bank accounts, cash and liquidity management.

  3. Connectivity infrastructure and system integration.

  4. Trade finance and supply chain management.

The solution

The solution’s design and strategy involved multiple bank channels and ERP/SWIFTNet integration (CashPooler and Diapason TMS) as well as a liquidity overlay structure in Paris and bespoke domestic and cross-border liquidity solutions across its ten markets in Asia. Subsequently, this facilitated the direct integration of country cash pools into Thales Group’s existing cash pool set-up in Paris.

The countries where the overall solutions are deployed and where Thales operates include: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Key milestones achieved:

  • Established strategic mission and plans for integration with Thales’ group treasury.

  • Took over all electronic banking administration in legacy Thales entities and harmonised signatory mandate in accordance with Thales’ policy.

  • Streamlined PCG and Banks Credit facility to optimise support to all countries in the region.

  • RFQ in China and harmonised the ONE Bank view of Thales to channel the cash management system to BNP Paribas.

  • Implemented pan-China cash pool and cross-border cash pool with Thales’ treasury.

  • Managed the ground transportation business carve out and set up similar treasury support of this business for six entities, covering cash management, funding, facility setup and trade finance.

  • Roll out of Kyriba, a new TMS for most entities in Asia.

Best practice and innovation

The project was far more than an acquisition exercise. It was a large-scale transformation, migration and integration endeavour for Thales involving collaboration from both organisations across Asia.

Thales implemented and integrated major structural changes while embracing new processes and digitalisation across ten markets. The migration and transition management were huge given that operational and treasury readiness is of essence at the point of acquisition completion for the management, while ensuring alignment with the global structure concurrently. The new entities must be able to function as business as usual on day one.

Thales achieved great synergies and integration between its headquarters and across all countries in Asia. Overall efficiency, alignment, visibility and control were significantly enhanced. Looking beyond, Thales and BNP Paribas worked together to set out a long-term objective of meeting Thales’ evolving requirements and established a robust infrastructure to pave the way to embrace its future vision and growth plans.

Key benefits

  • Costs savings.

  • Headcount savings.

  • Number of banking partners/bank accounts reduced.

  • Process efficiencies.

  • Improved key performance indicator (KPI) metrics.

  • Return on investment (ROI).

  • Increased automation.

  • Risk mitigated.

  • Improved visibility.

  • Errors reduced.

  • Manual intervention reduced.

  • Increased system connectivity.

  • Future-proof solution.

  • Exceptional implementation (budget/time).

BNP Paribas is the core service provider for Thales in Asia, and deeply involved in its ambitious transformation enhancing the company’s successful growth and cash generation in the region. Following its acquisition of Gemalto, Thales had the perfect opportunity to consolidate, integrate and harmonise its treasury and banking infrastructure. BNP Paribas designed a strategic solution to integrate multiple bank channels and ERP/TMS, establish a liquidity overlay structure in Paris, Thales Group’s headquarters, and deliver bespoke domestic and cross-border liquidity solutions across Thales’ APAC market.

The partnership resulted in rationalised bank accounts, centralised advisory and support, standardised processes and a harmonised regional solution for Thales, while allowing scalability and room for future innovation to meet their longer-term objective.

in partnership with

BNP Paribas logo

Kyriba extends warm congratulations to the Thales project team for their remarkable achievements in transforming treasury operations. Thales’ commitment to efficiency, security and global financial optimisation was evident in harmonising payment tools and deploying banking communication worldwide. In 16 months, the project was successfully deployed across 146 subsidiaries in 21 countries, engaging 600 users. The team’s dedication to streamlining processes positioned Thales as a leader in enterprise liquidity management, reaping impressive benefits. We are proud to be part of Thales’ journey and anticipate continued success in their pursuit of financial excellence.

in partnership with

Kyriba logo

The Adam Smith Awards Asia is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2023 awards attracted 450 nominations. To find out more please visit treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards-asia

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