ERG ann A Smart Card JV first for Australia - ECard
Thu 01 Jun 2000
Published: Thu 01 Jun 2000 16:20:30
Document No: 179843
Document part: A
Market Flag: Y
ERG LIMITED 2000-06-01 ASX-SIGNAL-G HOMEX - Perth +++++++++++++++++++++++++ In a drive to stimulate the smart card market, banking, communications and technology experts have teamed in the first joint venture of its kind in Australia. ERG Limited (ERG), Telstra Corporation Ltd (Telstra) and ANZ Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) today announced that they will invest $30 million to create a $100 million plus joint venture to be known as ECard Pty Ltd (ECard). The new business will be based in Sydney and will initially employ over 30 staff. Each of the shareholders has appointed two directors to the Board of ECard. Mr Chris Fendley, a former senior manager in Telstra's Smart Card Group, has been appointed General Manager. The finalisation of the joint venture follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the three companies in September 1999 and a number of trials since that time. The three partners bring to ECard considerable assets - people, intellectual property and cash - that position the joint venture as an influential player in the Australian smart card industry. Everyday applications underpinning smart cards include loyalty or reward point schemes, secure access to the Internet and banking transactions. Initially ECard will adopt the Proton technology to meet its immediate objectives. Investigation of the emerging operating systems for smart cards, such as MULTOS, Java and Windows for Smart Card, will be carried out concurrently to enhance the range of applications ECard will be able to offer to intending smart card issuers in the future. Mr Fendley said ECard will be an industry leader and provide a common operating system for Australia in a market characterised by a number of emerging technologies but no common standard. "ECard will assess and decide the best technology for the market place and pave the way for an open standard," he said. "ECard will commence business supporting the largest smart card base in Australia of over one million cards. The shareholders are committed to expanding that base through their strengths in the financial sector, transport and telecommunications. "The shareholders have reaffirmed their commitment to providing an open Australia-wide smart card solution by inviting other major financial and business organisations to join ECard, with discussions and negotiations now under way." Commenting on the announcement, ANZ Managing Director, Global Cards, Brian Hartzer, said "ECard's establishment will remove some of the key barriers that have slowed the deployment of smart cards in Australia. "It will provide issuers and acquirers with 'turnkey' solutions for delivering multi-application chip-based value propositions to their customers. It will also reduce cost barriers by pooling development costs, sharing processing infrastructure and operational functions and enhancing buying power for required infrastructure. "ECard will also drive standardisation and acceptance by customers, and over time, support a number of industry standard platforms such as Multos, Java (Open Platform) and SCfW as they become viable in the future." ERG's Chief Executive, Peter Fogarty, complimented his co-shareholders on their vision for a unified smart card solution in Australia. "The establishment of ECard is a watershed for the smart card industry in Australia. A common platform has been agreed and intending card issuers can now proceed with a smart card initiative with ECard knowing the infrastructure will be in place to support their card base. "Telstra and ANZ should be strongly commended for supporting the concept of shared infrastructure. Card and terminal manufacturers now have a clear way forward with smart card technology." Gerry Sutton, the Managing Director of Telstra CB Next, said that now the important direction for smart cards was to address security and identification issues in the on line environment. He welcomed the establishment of the company, which will enable solutions to be developed on a common infrastructure platform, and indicated that he was keen for new investors to join ECard and to share a common vision for the technology supporting smart card initiatives. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ERG Group ERG Group is a world leader in the development and supply of technologically advanced smart card systems and services, automated fare collection products and systems, and telecommunications products and services. ERG provides turnkey solutions to customers, from design and manufacture to supply, installation, commissioning and ongoing service and maintenance. ERG is a shareholder in Proton World and holds exclusive licences for the Proton technology in Australia and New Zealand, and through its joint venture company, Triumphant Launch licences for Proton across Asia. ERG has a global alliance with Motorola in the smart card sector. The ERG Motorola Alliance has already won contracts to deliver major smart card systems in Berlin, Rome, San Francisco and Singapore. ERG operates globally and has 22 offices in 14 countries. ERG is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and ranks in the top 100 listed companies by market capitalisation. For more information about ERG visit: www.erggroup.com For further information please contact Melissa Frost, General Manager Investor Relations, ERG Group, +61 8 9273 1879 or 0412 153 145, email: email@example.com. TELSTRA CORPORATION LTD Telstra Corporation Limited is Australia's principal telecommunications company. Telstra offers a broad range of telecommunications and information services throughout Australia and overseas. Telstra has been at the forefront of developing and deploying smart card technology into the Australian marketplace. Since Telstra introduced smart cards in 1997, it has issued more than 10 million new cards. For more information about Telstra visit: www.telstra.com For further information contact Kerrina Lawrence, Public Affairs Manager, Telstra Retail Services, +61 3 9634 7134 or 0419 352313, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. ANZ BANKING GROUP LTD ANZ is a leading financial services company with AUD$167 billion (US$100 billion) in assets. Headquarted in Melbourne, Australian and has more than four million retail and business customers in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific and is considered by the industry as a leader in credit cards in the Australian and New Zealand market. For more information about ANZ visit: www.anz.com For further information contacts Angela Diamond, Senior Communications Manager, +61 2 9227 1362, email: email@example.com.