‘I’M Going to Asia’ Says Oberthur Card Systems

Published: 12 Oct 2006

By Anoop Ubhey, Global Programme Manager, Smart Cards

French based smart card manufacturer Oberthur Card Systems' acqusition of Asian based I’M Technologies is yet another move confirming the concentration of the smart card market. Another move following on from moves like the coming together of Sagem and Orga, and later Gemplus and Axalto.

Rumoured in the market for a while, Oberthur Card Systems today announced that it will be entering into a deal where it would buy the Singapore based I’M Technologies approximately €17 million.

The fabless production process should allow Oberthur Card Systems to lower its cost and compete better with other participants in a market that is renowned for its competition solely on price. Hopefully, for the company, this will give them a much needed boost to rectify its business in the Asia region.

Many of the European smart card manufacturers are believed to be shaving employees in a bid to reduce cost to battle with the falling prices in the SIM market. Prices fell sharply in 2005, and this trend looks to continue in 2006. Simply looking at financial results for the top smart card manufacturers we can see a rise in SIM shipments but flat revenues and in some cases a dip in SIM revenue.

I believe this could be a move which sees Oberthur Card Systems make some inroads into its lost SIM market performances of recent years. All in all, this could work out to be a fruitful move for the French smart card manufacturer in terms of increasing is market presence geographically as well as having the expertise and ability of lowering is overall cost of SIM cards.

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