French aerospace companies Thales and Safran acknowledged Thursday that they are discussing a possible swap of assets.
"These discussions are following on previous exchanges between the two companies, which are aiming at seeking to optimise their respective business portfolios so as to strengthen their competitiveness, especially on international markets," Thales said in a statement. "Should a potential agreement be reached, it would be presented to the Board of Directors and employee representatives bodies and appropriate information would be communicated."
The Thales statement came after an interview with Laurent Collet-Billon, the head of the French arms procurement office, was published by French business daily Les Echos. Collet-Billon said both companies were nearing a deal to swap business assets. The French government is the main shareholder and customer of each companies' defense group.