Voca and LINK announce intention to merge

London - 6 March 2007

. VocaLINK to be one of Europe’s leading payment processors
. Banks and their customers to benefit from trusted payment processing, innovative services and shared knowledge

Payment services companies Voca Ltd (“Voca”) and LINK Interchange Network Ltd (“LINK”) have announced an intention to merge to create VocaLINK Ltd (“VocaLINK”). The combined company will be one of the leading payments processors in Europe with a forecast volume of over 8 billion transactions this year. VocaLINK will be able to offer a broad range of services for both cash machines and automated payments.

Voca and LINK are recognised leaders in their respective fields. Voca’s world-class operations process 90% of the UK’s salaries and 15% of Europe’s automated payment volume. LINK is an international leader in ATM-based services and real-time transactions, operating one of the most efficient ATM networks in the world. Both companies are renowned for delivering excellent service to their bank customers. In doing so, consumers benefit from a reliable and secure way of transferring money between bank accounts through the BACS scheme and easy access to their funds through the LINK network.

VocaLINK is at the forefront of technology. The two companies are already working successfully together to build the infrastructure behind the UK’s Faster Payments initiative that will deliver real-time payments to the UK market by the end of the year.

The merger would create a payment processor ready to compete on a pan-European scale when the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) becomes a reality in 2008. The enlarged, liberalised payments landscape introduced by SEPA brings huge opportunities for banks and payment processors. When the merger is formally completed, subject to OFT approval, VocaLINK will have the range of services necessary to compete in this environment.

Most importantly, at a time of unprecedented change in the payments industry, VocaLINK’s unified expertise will provide an outstanding base for innovation. With Voca’s and LINK’s complementary experience in fields such as mobile banking, international money transfer and online billing, VocaLINK will be able to offer a range of services that neither company could have developed alone. The first services from the new company will include SEPA-ready and real-time payment services designed to accelerate domestic and cross-border payments.

The group also plans to use its combined network of partners across the telecommunications, financial, retail and public sectors to offer enhanced online and mobile services that will give consumers greater choice.

Current Voca chief executive Marion King will be the merged company’s CEO charged with running the business. Marion has a successful track record in business management and growth. Since joining Voca, Marion has overseen a corporate governance restructure, the development of a new brand and commercial strategy, and the implementation of Voca’s award-winning SEPA-ready payment platform.

“Voca and LINK coming together is an exciting prospect,” she says. “We’re already working together successfully to build the UK’s Faster Payments system and the operational and intellectual synergies are clear. The move will create the broad product portfolio needed to compete in a wider European market in light of the introduction of SEPA.”

Under the terms of the proposed agreement VocaLINK will be managed through a new board including independent non-executives. Peter Presland, LINK’s current chairman, will assume the role of non-executive chairman. Peter has a breadth of experience in non-executive roles and sits on the boards of three other organisations.

VocaLINK represents a dynamic development that harnesses leading technology, trusted service delivery and innovation to meet the challenges of SEPA and will deliver an exciting future.

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