Customers corner market
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