On December 17, 2017, through a joint statement, Thalès and Gemalto announced a strategic merger agreement aimed at creating "the world leader in digital security".
“The acquisition of Gemalto marks a key milestone in the implementation of Thalès’s strategy. Together with Gemalto’s management, we have big ambitions based on a shared vision of the digital transformation of our industries and customers. Our project will be beneficial to innovation and employment, whilst respecting sovereign strategic technologies”, commented Patrice Caine, Thalès’ Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer.
This agreement, which let Thalès group retake control of the contract of computerized national ID cards and resident permits (that Gemalto is actually commissioned to manufacture), will be completed in Q2 2018.
Indeed, for ten years, Thalès has produced National ID cards for Cameroonians, in the framework of the SENAC (Système de sécurité de la nationalité Camerounaise), a project steered by the country's police. On December 31, 2014, Thalès was notified of the government's decision not to renew their contract for the SENAC. This was through a letter from the current Delegate General for National Security, Martin Mbarga Nguélé.
At the time its contract was terminated, the French company demanded the Cameroonian State a payment of a debt amounting to around CFA4 billion. According to our sources, the two parties were able to find an amicable solution after many negotiations. It was then expected that the Spanish company Indra, known to be close to Martin Mbarga Nguélé, would replace Thalés.
But, talks between Indra and Cameroon’s government were finally halted and on n July 31, 2015, the contract, which is worth billions of CFA, was awarded to Gemalto which has just been acquired by Thalès. This thus consecrates Thalès’ return on the contract of secured national ID cards. However, it is said that Gemalto will continue “operating its own brand”.