Tech firm KAL clinches £20m ATM contract with Italy's UniCredit

EDINBURGH technology firm KAL has struck a deal thought to be worth around £20 million with Italian banking heavyweight UniCredit to equip its entire European operations with the latest high street cash machine software.

• Korala: new generation of ATMs

The contract follows hard on the heels of a similar-sized contract won from Citibank, to upgrade its ATM network across the US along with its operations in 27 other countries.

Although the value of both deals has not been disclosed, KAL's chief executive Aravinda Korala described the work with UniCredit and Citibank as running into "millions of euros" and "millions of dollars" respectively.

The UniCredit deal is believed to be worth around 20m to KAL, carrying with it significant client discounts that large contracts of this kind usually attract.

The UniCredit work involves 26,000 ATMs in 22 European countries.

One industry source said: "A strength of KAL's work is flexibility when it comes to integrating its software into existing banking systems. This is borne out in such landmark deals as China Construction Bank, CitiBank and Now UniCredit."

KAL, which was set up in 1989, also supplies the Nationwide with a UK-wide linked ATM-and-teller solution.

The company's Scottish manufacturing headquarters operate from an unassuming former factory building nestled in the shadow of the Hibernian Football Club stadium off Easter Road.

Its head office is backed up by "time zone" engineering bases in Cincinnati, Mumbai and Sydney.

London-based Retail Banking Research (RBR) has named KAL as the world's leading independent ATM software firm for its Kalignite Software Suite of products that provides a high-tech solution to banks, often operating thousands of ATMs in numerous countries.

According to RBR, KAL has grown by 67 per cent over the past two years, and as one of the top three ATM vendors in the market has a 21 per cent share globally. It is the only top provider that focuses exclusively on ATM software.

Along with newcomers UniCredit and Citibank the firm works with banks throughout the States, Japan, China, Africa, Albania and Chile.

Korala, who has a PhD in artificial intelligence from Edinburgh University, said that very soon a new generation of cost-effective ATMs will enable the customer to not only draw out cash but also deposit directly into an account through new cheque scanning processes.