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6 November, 2019 - 21:22 By Kate Sweeney

Essex smart card specialist acquired by Paris-listed company

Thames Technology, an Essex-based manufacturer of payment, loyalty and gift cards, has been acquired by Paris-listed Paragon ID in an undisclosed but multimillion Euros deal.The acquisition has secured a lucrative exit for Milton Keynes investor BGF.

BGF first invested in Thames Technology in 2013, with £3.1m to support the acquisition of new manufacturing equipment. 

Since that time, the business has increased production capacity, improved its service offering and strengthened its reputation in the UK and internationally with customers across the retail and financial services sectors.

Accredited for more than 15 years with Visa and Mastercard and having the required security certifications for the manufacture and personalisation of EMV® (Europay Mastercard Visa) chip cards at its Essex production site, Thames Technology offers high quality manufacturing and personalisation solutions that ensure data security.

It enjoys a strong reputation in the UK and internationally with customers coming from various sectors including retail, financial services (payment), banking (fintech), leisure and tourism, and government bodies.

Founded in 1994, Thames Technology sells more than 250 million cards per year, which are distributed to customers in more than 60 countries around the world. Annual revenues exceed £15m – split relatively evenly between financial and retail sectors.

BGF investor and head of manufacturing, Mark Bryant – who will step down from the Thames Technology board – said: “This is a good result for Thames Technology and a reflection of the hard work of the team. The UK is proud of its rich manufacturing heritage and Thames Technology is part of that, bringing innovation to the retail and financial sectors.”

Che Colford, operations director at Thames Technology, added: “Everyone here at Thames is very happy and excited to join the Paragon ID group. Our markets are becoming increasingly characterised by the convergence of applications across the domains of payment, identity and transportation and are also becoming increasingly international. 

“Joining an internationally-renowned, industrial group with strong presence in these markets makes a lot of sense for Thames and its stakeholders.”

Clem Garvey, Paragon ID CEO, said the acquisition of Thames Technology represented another step-change in the development of the business.

He said: “Just one year ago we entered the payment market with the acquisition of AmaTech Group. The acquisition of Thames firmly positions us in the payment card space, with our own EMV-certified site, while also providing us with manufacturing and personalisation capacity in Britain for smart-cards which can be used across all of our existing business activities.”

• BGF was set up in 2011 and has invested more than £2bn in over 290 companies.

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