Cus­tomers cor­ner mar­ket

Townsville Bulletin - - Weekend Extra / Business Stockwatch -

ELEC­TRONIC pay­ment sys­tems busi­ness Cus­tomers Ltd is set to own one of the largest ATM net­works in Aus­tralia with the pur­chase of thou­sands of ma­chines from Mac­quarie Bank for up to $132.5 mil­lion.

Cus­tomers yes­ter­day said it had agreed to buy ATM So­lu­tions Aus­trala­sia Pty Ltd from Mac­quarie Pay­ments In­fra­struc­ture Hold­ings Ltd, a sub­sidiary of Mac­quarie Bank Ltd for $125 mil­lion.

An ad­di­tional amount bet w e e n $ 5 mi l l i o n a n d $7.5 mil­lion will be payable in Cus­tomers shares sub­ject to the achieve­ment of ad- di­tional earn­ings be­fore com­ple­tion, the com­pany said.

Mac­quarie Bank bought the ATM So­lu­tions net­work, lo­cated pre­dom­i­nantly in the ho­tel, club and con­ve­nience mar­kets, in July 2005 from the Bank of Queens­land for $64 mil­lion.

The net­work con­sists of 3300 ma­chines and will more than dou­ble Cus­tomer’s cur­rent net­work to more than 5000 ATMs to give it one of the largest in Aus­tralia.

Cus­tomers chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Greg Baker said the pur­chase was part of the com­pany’s plan to be­come the coun­try’s dom­i­nant pay­ment sys­tems busi­ness.

‘‘By com­bin­ing ATM So­lu­tions with our ex­ist­ing net­work, we are con­fi­dent Cus­tomers will cre­ate a new com­pet­i­tive force in the pay­ments in­dus­try,’’ he said.

Mr Baker said along­side moves to gain a foothold in Asia, the pur­chase gave Cus­tomers a pos­i­tive out­look for the next three to five years.

The ac­qui­si­tion would also com­ple­ment Cus­tomers’ joint ven­ture pro­cess­ing op­er­a­tion with Bendigo Bank and Mastercard to al­low for the de­liv­ery of new prod­ucts and ser­vices into the mar­ket, he said.

The ac­qui­si­tion will be funded through the sale of about $90 mil­lion of stock at 20c per share to pro­fes­sional in­vestors.

A Share Pur­chase Plan (SPP) will al­low Cus­tomers’ re­tail share­hold­ers to pur­chase up to $5000 worth of shares at the same price as the place­ment.

The pur­chase is sub­ject to the ap­proval of share­hold­ers in Fe­bru­ary, 2007, with the trans­ac­tion due for com­ple­tion in April 2007.

Shares in Cus­tomers fell half a cent to 24c while Mac­quarie rose 93c to $78.93.

NET­WORK . . . Cus­tomers Ltd has bought 3300 ATMs

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