ERG ejects from ECard

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Perth-based smartcard specialist ERG has sold its 39 percent holding in the ECard joint-venture for $5 million to its partners in the project, Telstra and ANZ Bank.

The buy-back will leave ECard's existing shareholders, Telstra and ANZ, holding 100 percent of the ECard venture. The shares had been bought back by ECard under a pre-existing agreement for an immediately payable $5 million.

The consortium had been formed in mid-2000 to provide smartcard multi-application support and management services to card issues. The company currently services customers like NSW TAFE, La Trobe University and the ANZ.

ERG said in a statement that under the buy-back agreement, ERG and ECard would maintain a relationship, working together on new multi-application smartcard systems.

Importantly, ECard would retain its licence rights to the Proton multi-application technology owned by ERG.

"While we have sold our shareholding in ECard, we will continue to work closely with them on commercial opportunities," said ERG' Asia Pacific managing director Rob Noble.

"From a strategic and operational standpoint, we expect to maintain and enhance our relationship with ECard and its shareholders Telstra and ANZ Bank," he said.


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