Retalix 1Q/03

Israel-based Retalix reported first quarter net revenues of $20.7 million, an increase of 27% from 1Q/02. Net income for the quarter was $1.1 million, compared to a net income of $819,000, in the first quarter of last year. North America was the primary growth driver, accounting for 64% of total revenues in the first quarter. In February, the company announced that Publix Super Markets intends to deploy Retalix “StoreLine” as its next-generation POS solution across 747 stores in five states. Publix is renowned as a premier operational company in the grocery industry and this win underlines our competitive strength at a point when most Tier One chains are actively evaluating their next-generation software platform. “StoreLine” was also chosen during the first quarter by an additional 200-store grocery chain in the USA. In the convenience store sector, the company announced that ALON USA, representing 171 corporate-owned 7-Eleven sites and an additional 1,500 FINA brand locations, has contracted with us to deploy Retalix “StorePoint.”

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HSBC & BT

HSBC has won a five-year contract to provide VISA corporate cards to BT employees worldwide. BT issued a request for proposal to major corporate card issuers in August 2002. The contract covers BT users predominantly in the UK, but also in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the USA. Employing over 100,000 people, BT is one of the world’s leading providers of telecommunications services and one of the largest private sector companies in Europe. The BT global corporate card program is the largest in the UK and Europe, with over 35,000 corporate cards in issue, and represents an annual spend of over $160 million.

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VF Top-Up

UK-based MULTePAY has chosen the VeriFone’s “Omni 3750” as the platform to deliver its electronic top-up facilities to the UK’s independent retailers. Under terms of the deal, VeriFone will supply 2000 “Omni 3750” terminals running “APACS40” software on which MULTePAY will develop the E-top-up facility, using the “Alphyra” host system. The first units are due to be deployed in stores from May, offering lucrative new revenue streams for retailers alongside standard credit and debit card processing, including electronic top-up for pre-paid mobile phones. The solution will be available to UK retailers through Food Brokers Ltd.,

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FDC-Concord

First Data said Friday that its merger with Concord is on track and will close in the second half of this year. However, FDC has re-filed its pre-merger notification and report form under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act to start a new thirty-day regulatory review period. First Data and Concord EFS announced a definitive agreement last month to merge in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $7 billion. The combination of FDC and Concord will create a payments giant, especially after off-line debit took a hit last week in the Wal-Mart litigation. Concord also controls more than half of the POS debit processing market. First Data controls nearly half of the merchant acquiring market. Therefore, it is widely believed that any potential deal between FDC and Concord will draw close regulatory scrutiny. (CF Library 2/13/03; 2/19/03; 3/11/03; 4/2/03)

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Twins VISA

Bank One has launched the first rewards program enabling cardholders an opportunity to receive free baseball tickets and merchandise. The new rewards program gives cardholders three choices when they spend $2,500 with their “Minnesota Twins VISA card: two lower-level reserved tickets to any regular-season Twins home game; three upper-level club tickets to any regular-season home game; or $40 of merchandise at Twins Pro Shops. Generally, sports credit card programs do not include rewards programs. In most cases, customers receive a premium gift such as a cap, athletic bag or other team item when they apply for the card. Bank One says often, a customer applies for the card to receive the gift, but then never uses the card. The challenge is always activation. Bank One says having an ongoing rewards program that provides an incentive for making purchases with the card would encourage cardholders to use their cards on a regular basis. Bank One has relationships with three other Major League Baseball teams: the Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies.

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China Market

A new study shows that the middle class will drive payment card growth in the China as its expands from 60 million to 160 million people by 2010. The report also says that there are already more than 50 million people in China who can be characterized as “cardable.” The MasterCard report says there are only one million credit cardholders in China today, but there are about 24 million secured credit cardholders, and virtually all of them will become credit cardholders tomorrow. MasterCard has about 16 million secured credit cards in-force in China. MasterCard also anticipates significant growth over the next few years in the international credit card business in China, based in part on the estimated increase in the size of China’s middle class over the rest of this decade as well as the increasing acceptance of such cards by merchants and financial institutions, driven increasingly by raising international visitor arrivals. This year the number of ATMs that accept international payment cards will rise to 1,300 in Beijing and more than 8,000 ATMs nationwide. Currently in Beijing city, international payment cards are accepted at around 16,000 point of sale terminals. The city government of Beijing plans to increase this in three years time to 80,000.

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ICICI One-Source

Mumbai-based ICICI OneSource reported that its workforce has tripled to 2,175 employees, during the past 12 months. I-OneSource primarily serves the banking, insurance, asset management, and diversified financial services markets in the U.S. and U.K. with off-shore back office services. The company currently handles upwards of 18 million voice and back office transactions a year. The firm recently received the prestigious “COPC” certification, becoming the first company in the world to achieve this rigorous standard for back office processing services.

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ATB & FDC

Edmonton-based ATB Financial has signed a seven-year agreement with First Data for card processing services for ATB’s MasterCard credit card accounts. First Data has provided card processing services in Canada since 2000 and currently processes accounts on behalf of four card issuers. The company is also a leading merchant acquirer of MasterCard transactions in Canada working with a wide range of merchants representing nearly 90,000 outlets. ATB serves over 240 communities through a network of 145 branches, 132 agencies, and 225 automated banking machines and electronic banking services.

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CATUITY BOARD

Catuity confirmed today that its former Executive Chairman has decided to
resign from the company’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. Last
month, Catuity announced that Chairman David Mac Smith had voluntarily
stepped down as Chairman. The company said it decided to transition the
role of Chairman to a non-executive chairman and therefore determined not
to renew Mac Smith’s employment agreement, which expires August 31st. At
the time, Mac Smith said he was considering his position on the Board.
Catuity says MacSmith will not be replaced at the present time and the
Catuity board will now consist of the five current directors, two
Australian-based and three-US based. Catuity is a leading provider of
application software for loyalty programs integrated to the payment system
at the point of sale.

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Do-Not-Call Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission is going after two Internet sites that claim they can “pre-register” consumers for the upcoming “Do Not Call” registry. The Commission is seeking a temporary restraining order to stop immediately the deceptive claims made on Free Do Not Call List.org and the National Do Not Call List. The two services are charging between $9.99 and $17.99 per year to be listed on their service. The sites falsely claim that it can place consumers on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” registry, which will start this summer.

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ICICI ONE-SOURCE

Mumbai-based ICICI OneSource reported that its workforce has tripled to
2,175 employees, during the past 12 months. I-OneSource primarily serves
the banking, insurance, asset management, and diversified financial
services markets in the U.S. and U.K. with off-shore back office services.
The company currently handles upwards of 18 million voice and back office
transactions a year. The firm recently received the prestigious “COPC”
certification, becoming the first company in the world to achieve this
rigorous standard for back office processing services.

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