MasterCard Europe and EuroPay have signed an agreement to integrate their respective operating structures in France and establish a new company that will provide electronic payments services to financial institutions across the country.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
MasterCard and Europay combined their respective European operations under a merger deal signed in 2002. However, under that agreement Europay France has acted as a liaison between MasterCard Worldwide and financial institutions in France.
Under the new deal, slated to be completed on 1 April, MasterCard's operations in France will be combined with the Europay France unit to form a new company headed by MasterCard's Emmanuel Petit.
Petit joined MasterCard in 2002 and most recently led the firm's relationship with a European banking client. He will be responsible for managing the integration process, before assuming the role of general manager in April. He will report to Alfredo Gangotena, GM, Continental Europe, MasterCard Europe.
MasterCard's country manager in France, Herve Kergoat, will assist Petit during the transition before becoming head of business development, special projects in April.
Gangotena says the agreement with Europay France "is essential to strengthening our direct presence in this market, and ensuring that French banks can have a single point of contact for their electronic payment needs".
"This will strengthen French banks in the intensely competitive international marketplace and they will further benefit from a payments system unrivalled in terms of both reliability and efficiency," he adds.
MasterCard says the move is particularly timely, given the establishment of a single euro payment Area (Sepa). The influence of Sepa has already directly impacted the French domestic market by allowing the issuance of co-branded cards in France since October 2007, says the card network.