Zetes to expand and increase its activities on the personal authentication market thanks to the takeover of the assets and know-how of the Idoc Cards division

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Zetes Industries has announced the takeover of the Cards division of the Belgian company Idoc, which specialises in the production of secured identity documents. This acquisition means that the Zetes Group now covers the entire smart card production chain - with or without contact - at its Zetes CardS entity, producer of the Belgian electronic identity cards (eID) and social identity cards (SIS) in particular.

Personal authentication is a booming market in which the Zetes Group has established a strong position over the past five years and more, with its Zetes PASS competence centre (Personal Authentication and Security Services) and Zetes CardS, its secured smart card production plant (embedding, personalisation, distribution). The major investments undertaken in these services and production entities rapidly proved worthwhile in Belgium (where the group was awarded the eID and SIS contracts) and then on the international scene, including the successful implementation of the project to produce biometric registration kits for voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on behalf of the United Nations.

New areas of activity

To expand its activities and increase its competitiveness on the personal authentication market and in the smart card production sector in particular still further, Zetes decided to acquire the Cards division of Idoc, a Belgian company that has been producing secured identity documents since 1982.

The resources acquired through this takeover harmoniously complement those of Zetes CardS both in terms of equipment and as regards R&D and known-how.

Thanks to the takeover, Zetes CardS can now add the following to its service range:

- lamination and cutting equipment and skills, for the production of smart card with but also without contact (RFID);

- digital printing (offset+) equipment and skills, in colour and secured, resulting in a wider, more diversified product range in the field of personalised cards for both private and public customers, such as the emerging countries.

The Idoc Cards division will be transferred to Zetes CardS. All the members of staff concerned - a total of 14 people (operators, IT specialists, account managers) will join the 64 employees at Zetes Cards. No social plan is being foreseen in this context.

New references and opportunities

The deal also includes the takeover of Idocs private and public customers. Idoc has a number of high-quality references in the public sector in particular, including the Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry (cards for diplomats and for Belgian residents abroad) and the Luxembourg Government (national identity cards).

The acquisition of the Idoc Card division represents an investment of 1.9 million (IFRS). It encompasses the handover of equipment, production software tools, staff and the installed base.  This division will be consolidated into the accounts of Zetes Industries from 15 February 2006; production equipment will be physically integrated in the secured infrastructure of the Group on the 1st of April 2006.

The direct impact of this acquisition will be neutral at the level of Profit and Loss account but will allow creating added value for the Group in terms of competences and opportunities from 2006.

Already being a leader in the field of card production and personalisation services in Belgium and Luxembourg, Zetes is planning to expand and increase its range of offering on the international market for personal authentication and the production of secured electronic identity documents in Europe and the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East and Africa)", says Zetes Group CEO Alain Wirtz. "By controlling the entire production chain for these documents, we will be able to increase the added value on contracts, expand our customer base and, more generally, improve our competitiveness on a market where few players can boast such a comprehensive range of equipment and know-how.

Moreover, this acquisition is the first concrete step in our strategy aimed at the selective acquisition of technological skills in the field of personal authentication, as announced at the time of our recent IPO.

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