The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) today announced the intention to sign long-term agreements with Lagardère Services, Ortel Finance (part of the Ortel group of companies which also comprises Ortel Telecom) and PayUp to provide Western Union global money transfer services in France, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Romania and Poland.
The agreements significantly expand Western Union's presence in Europe. With over 15,000 retail locations across the continent, these companies bring potentially important retail expansion opportunities to Western Union.
Signing up Lagardère Services, PayUp and Ortel Finance as Agents represents a major milestone in Western Union's strategy to capitalize on the opportunities offered by the implementation of the EU's Payment Services Directive ("PSD"). Coming into effect on 1 November 2009, the PSD seeks to increase pan-European competition, innovation and participation in the payments industry by creating a single market for payment services. It also enables retailers and other non-bank organizations to offer a portfolio of worldwide payment services, previously only offered by financial institutions in the EU.
"The strategically important agreements with Lagardère Services, Ortel Finance and PayUp will allow Western Union to take advantage of the excellent growth opportunities presented by EU's new Payment Services Directive," said Hikmet Ersek, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, EMEA-APAC at Western Union. "The agreements will enable Western Union to strengthen its brand, expand its distribution network into retail and enhance further the convenience and premium service we offer to our customers."
Dag Inge Rasmussen, President and COO of Lagardère Services, added: "We are delighted to have formed a partnership with Western Union. Money transfers is a dynamic and growing market, and I believe that Lagardère Services customers will appreciate the convenience, efficiency and superior service that Western Union is renowned for."
Pascal Stoop, CEO of Ortel Finance, commented: "The partnership between Western Union and Ortel Finance is a valuable match, as both companies are well known and reliable brands with a multicultural client base. Our intention to deliver fair, easy to understand and cheap financial products is fuelled by the co-operation with Western Union. Together with our customer-focused approach and support in many different languages, Ortel Finance will attract and maintain many new customers."
Luis Janeiro, CEO of Payup, said: "We acknowledge that signing this agreement is another great step for PayUp. Western Union is one of the best known companies worldwide and we appreciate that it recognizes the potential of the PayUp network. We are very proud of this partnership and we believe that Western Union customers will have the convenience of more locations and extended opening hours."