Smart card specialist secures £20m deal

SMART card developer Ecebs has landed a contract worth up to £20 million that signals its first big push into overseas markets.

The East Kilbride-based firm – whose technology can be used in transport ticketing, local government payment and secure ID card schemes – said talks were underway with businesses and organisations in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

It follows the signing of a contract to supply ticketing, payment and ID smart cards to a “Middle Eastern government organisation”.

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David Burdett, managing director of Ecebs, declined to name the client but said the deal was likely to be worth between £15m and £20m in total over the next five years. Currently the firm turns over about £5m. “This is probably one of two key deals that we will do this year,” he said. “The turmoil in this country has left the banking and payments systems in disarray.

“We can greatly improve the security and efficiency by using a secure card system based on biometric technology and finger print recognition.

“We expect the scheme to be being rolled out to cover some 20 million people over the next five years.”

The company has already built a strong presence in the transport ticketing market. It is part of a technical grouping that aims to develop a Europe-wide transport smart card.

Burdett said: “We have just closed our financial year with 65 per cent sales growth on top of 41 per cent the year before. We are growing quickly and it is sustainable.

“We will continue to foster our market-leading reputation in the UK, but our long-term growth will be sustained by entering into new markets overseas.

He added: “The firm is currently engaged with prospects on four continents.”