Atos Origin to buy Belgian payment networks Banksys and Bank Card Company

Atos Origin to buy Belgian payment networks Banksys and Bank Card Company

French IT services firm Atos Origin has signed an agreement to acquire Belgian bank-owned card payment proccessing networks Banksys and Bank Card Company (BCC). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Banksys and BCC are currently owned by a consortium of Belgium banks including Fortis, Dexia, KBC and ING. The two firms have combined 2005 revenues of EUR309 million under Belgian GAAP and employ 1100 staff.

Atos Origin says the acquisition will enable it to respond to the opportunities presented by the introduction of the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) as banks look to outsource their payments processing in a consolidating market. The two units will become part of its Atos Worldline business.

The French vendor says it will continue migration of Banksys' card payment scheme to MasterCard's Maestro global processing platform in preparation for Sepa. Banksys said in May that it was ditching its domestic system for card payments - Bancontact/Mister - in favour of the Maestro international payments platform.

The selling banks will remain customers of the new entity for the processing of credit and debit transactions.

Bernard Bourigeaud, CEO, Atos Origin, says: "This transaction allows Atos Origin to acquire a strong payment processor while also entering into long term commercial relationships with the selling banks. It represents a major step forward in our strategy to become a leader in the payment processing areas in the post-Sepa environment."

Commenting on the acquisition, Vincent Roland, CEO of Banksys says: "This partnership will allow an acceleration of our European expansion. With a partner of the size of Atos Origin, our know-how and competitiveness will be extended to Europe at large. This will strengthen our ability to meet the needs of our customers who are already present in Europe and wish to concentrate their payments on a European scale".

Atos Origin says the acquisition is expected to be finalised by the end of 2006, subject to approval by the European Competition Authorities.

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