Pan-European payments operator Equens is to merge its operations with Italian processor Seceti, under a deal that will create the largest volume payments processor in Europe.
The companies are currently conducting due diligence on a proposed deal which will lead to the creation of a joint new company under Equens current holding structure. The agreement is expected to be finalised in mid-2008, when Equens Italia will take its place alongside sister units Equens Nederland and Equens Deutschland.
Together, both partners will annually process 8.7 billion payments and switch 3 billion POS and ATM transactions and command a 12% share of European payment flows.
Financial details of the transaction between Equens and Seceti parent company ICBPI have not been disclosed. The companies say the deal will enable them to reduce costs, and achieve economies of scale for mutual clients.
Giovanni De Censi, chairman of the board of ICBPI, stresses that the proposed agreement is in the best interest of shareholders and customers.
"Europe is a crucial growth area for Seceti and we are committed to develop our business in strategic cooperation with Equens across the entire range of products and services" he states.
The move to a closer relationship comes three months after Equens and Seceti inked a reciprocal agreement to provide clearing services to clients following the introduction of the single euro payments area (Sepa) in 2008.