Schlumberger establishes Smart Card Bridgehead for Expanding Central and South American Market.
Smart card technology to provide key weapon in fight against fraud
Schlumberger Electronic Transactions has acquired an 80% interest in a company to be created with its partner, Printer, Mexico's leading magnetic stripe card manufacturer. Printer, a key supplier to Mexico's banks and telecommunications companies - and VISA and MasterCard certified - adds a powerful new dimension to Schlumberger's capabilities in the burgeoning Latin American market. The joint venture, called Schlumberger-Printer, is based in Mexico City.
Printer produces some 20 million plastic cards per annum, making it Mexico's largest manufacturer, and specializes in customizing cards, providing a comprehensive bureau service for both small and large consumers. Additionally, the company is a leader in printing checks and similar secure paper forms. The company counts Mexico's top banks and telcos, including Bancomer and Telmex, among its clients.
Schlumberger Electronic Transactions is the industry's leading single-source supplier of smart cards, terminals, development tools and support to clients, operators and major customers, across the entire range of magnetic and chipcard applications. The company has design and manufacturing in Europe, North America, Asia - and now Mexico - and produces hundreds of millions of cards annually as both private and government sectors move toward cashless, paperless transactions.
Jacques Cosnefroy, General Manager of Schlumberger's Cards Division, commented: "Mexico is poised for massive growth in smart card usage. Printer has strong established links with key government departments, banks and telecommunications companies, and more than a decade of local experience and expertise, significantly reinforcing Schlumberger's position in Mexico. This joint venture will allow us to better service new and existing customers, and provide a substantial bridgehead from which to address the rapidly expanding smart card and telecom markets of Central and South America."
Eric Claudel, director general of Schlumberger-Printer, added: "Adding chip technology to our manufacturing capability will accelerate our growth substantially, tripling card output within just two years and enabling us to address the extensive deployment of smart card technology planned by Mexico's government, banks and telcos."
Fraud is a serious problem around the world. To help combat this problem in Latin America, Mexican banks have adopted the VISACash standard for their next generation smart card-based payment cards. Schlumberger has worked closely with EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) on the definition of this smart card standard. Schlumberger-Printer will supply smart cards to one of Mexico's largest banks (the Banco Bilbao de Viscaya) for field trials of the new stored value payment cards in 1997, and to the major pilot projects which follow. When Schlumberger's smart card-based bank cards were first introduced in France, they cut fraud by 25% in the first year. The improved on-chip security and authentication mechanisms in today's smart cards are expected to reduce bank fraud in Mexico just as quickly.
Printer is also involved in the major smart card projects announced by the Mexican government which has identified the many security benefits of smart cards. For example, as part of its massive `Pase' programme, the government will issue millions of smart cards for health, social security and welfare purposes to most of Mexico's 100 million inhabitants. The government also plans to introduce a `vote' card as part of its campaign to eliminate another serious problem, election fraud.
Schlumberger Electronic Transactions is a unit of Schlumberger, Ltd. (NYSE:SLB).
Steve Acken/Deb Montner, 203/325-8772, ext.12/14
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Schlumberger-Printer SA de CV
Eric Claudel, +52-5-5821540; fax: +52-5-6708563
Schlumberger Electronic Transactions
Isabelle Ferdane-Couderc, +33-1-4746-70-20;
web site: www.et.slb.com
Schlumberger Measurement & Systems Asia
Sally Chew, +65-746-6344; fax: +65-742-6484
Rob Tucker at Wordsun, UK
tel: +44-1258-840999; fax: +44-1258-840960;
web site: www.wordsun.com