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Saudi Business Machines Sign Strategic Partnership Agreement with Aconite

- Business relationship extends Aconite's reach into Saudi Arabia -

Saudi Business Machines (SBM), the General Marketing and Services Representative for IBM World Trade Corporation, has signed a strategic alliance with international smart card solutions provider, Aconite, to drive the adoption of smart card technology in Saudi Arabia.

The agreement with the Jeddah-based SBM will see Aconite's suite of products being sold and supported throughout the Kingdom's burgeoning smart card sector.

The launch of smart cards is expected in 2005, following EMV Saudi Arabia requirements issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the subsequent implementation of the necessary infrastructure. Banks and financial services will face firm directives to migrate.

The value of the total financial cards market in Saudi Arabia is expected to increase to SR325 billion by 2008. The number of cards in circulation is expected to increase by 76% to 18.2 million, according to Euromonitor.

Mr. Safi Haidar, SBM Assistant General Manager – Services, stated: "Aconite's customers include innovative banks and financial institutions throughout the Arabian Peninsula who want to build strong and profitable relationships with all their customers as well as meet the increased demand for fast, reliable and secure smart card systems."

"In the rapidly advancing Saudi banking sector, we were looking for a partner that would complement our existing portfolio and match the evolving needs of our clients. The Aconite product and services suite will enable us to provide our customers in the region with a market leading solution," he added.

Bev Stevens, Director of Aconite Middle East stated, "We are delighted that SBM has chosen to partner with Aconite throughout this region. Our partnership will offer innovative solutions required by banks in the region to transform fragmented legacy systems and adopt new smart card technology for both payment and multi application services.