After being tied-up in appeals for three years, Gemplus has reportedly been ordered to pay damages to a small California firm. In February 1999, a federal court jury in San Diego awarded $17.5 million in damages to Humetrix, Inc. in a breach of contract and breach of partnership action against Gemplus, S.C.A.. The jury ruled that Gemplus’ actions caused a $15 million loss in potential profits for Humetrix. The jury also awarded $2.5 million in additional damages. The French newspaper Les Echos reported the appeals process has ended. The dispute centered over a 1995 agreement in which Gemplus agreed to a five-year contract designating Humetrix as a reseller of health-care applications of Gemplus smart card products in the U.S.. The contract also provided Humetrix with royalties for 10 years. Humetrix was in the process of developing ‘VaccicardT’, a smart card to track immunization records for infants, in the U.S., as well as other health care applications, when Gemplus allegedly breached its contract and partnership with Humetrix. Humetrix also filed a claim seeking priority trademark rights over the trademark “VaccicardT.” The jury awarded Humetrix with ownership of the trademark, but Humetrix made no claim of monetary damages on that count.
Coles Myer Ltd is reportedly in final discussions to issue a co-branded VISA and MasterCard. The retailer currently has about two million cardholders in its private label card program. It will attempt to upgrade 350,000 store card customers to a VISA or MasterCard, according to the Australian Financial Review. GE will issue the card for Coles Myer. Last year, Coles Myer launched the new ‘Coles Myer Card’ to replace more than 1.7 million existing Myer, Grace Bros, Target and Kmart private label credit cards now in force in Australia.
London-based HSBC Group reported that HSBC USA Inc. had 2Q/02 net income of US$198 million, an increase of 5% from US$188 million for the second quarter of 2001; however, cash earnings in the second quarter decreased to US$197 million from US$229 million in the comparable period in 2001. HSBC also reported that its Internet banking service had more than 335,000 customers registered at the end of the second quarter, up from approximately 275,000 at year-end 2001. HSBC Bank USA has more than 410 branches in New York State as well as eight branches in Florida, two in Pennsylvania, three in California and 17 in Panama.
Concord EFS announced that its Board of Directors has approved the repurchase of up to $250 million of Concord’s common stock. Concord is a leading vertically integrated electronic transaction processor, providing transaction authorization, data capture, settlement and funds transfer services to financial institutions, supermarkets, petroleum retailers, convenience stores, restaurants, and other independent retailers.
London-based NDS Group Plc reported that as of June 30th, they had approximately 29.6 million set-top boxes containing NDS technology were in use worldwide, up from 24.5 million at 30 June 2001 and an increase of 1.5 million in the quarter. Growth has been strong in US, UK, Israel and Asia Pacific, although less so in Europe due to uncertainties surrounding platform ownership; the subscriber base in Latin America has not grown through the year, mainly due to tough economic conditions. Asia Pacific has been boosted by the launch of SkyLife in Korea and initial rollout of set-top boxes is now occurring in China. NDS Group is a leader in providing conditional access systems and interactive applications for digital pay TV.
Sprint and eBay have teamed sell Sprint Prepaid PhoneCards. To kick-off the launch of the new store, Sprint has placed one million minutes of prepaid domestic long distance up for bid on eBay with proceeds to benefit a camp for seriously-ill children. Under terms of the program, eBay shoppers will be able to choose from two different denominations, with rates as low as 4.2 cents per domestic minute, if buying a 25 pack of 480 minute cards. The single 120 minute cards will sell $5.40 while single 480 minute cards will sell for $21.60.The proceeds from the million prepaid domestic minutes Sprint donated will benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp. The Yankee Group’s Technologically Advanced Family Study shows that nearly 45% of all U.S. households used prepaid calling cards to make long-distance calls in the past year, up from 41% in 2000.
At mid-year 2002, the average balance per active account, among the nation’s top ten issuers stood at $2,433. The average year-to-date volume per active account came in at $2,122. Bank One/First USA continued to lead the pack with the highest average balances and volume. Sub-prime specialists Providian, Capital One, and Household carried the lowest average balances and volume.
Top 10 Active Account Analysis
ISSUER BALANCE VOLUME
1. Citigroup $2437 $2444
2. MBNA $2437 $2392
3. Bank One $3340 $3420
4. Chase $2964 $2377
5. Discover $2111 $2034
6. Capital One $1702 $1226
7. Bank of America $2823 $2438
8. Providian $2279 $1105
9. Household $1510 $1676
10. Fleet $2722 $2111
Average: $2433 $2122
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
Sioux Falls, SD-based sub-prime credit card specialist, The Credit Store, reported it has not arranged any new sources of financing or made any other arrangements to enhance its liquidity. As a result, the Company has been withholding payments to many of its unsecured creditors. The Credit Store was unable to extend the maturity of its credit facility with Coast Business Credit and is now in default under the credit facility. Coast has advised the Company that its parent, Southern Pacific Bank, has been under contract to sell a portfolio of loans, including the Company’s credit facility. The Company continues to engage in discussions with its various institutional creditors, including Coast and the potential purchaser of its portfolio of loans, as well as possible new sources of funding looking toward extensions of maturity dates or refinancing of its existing indebtedness. The Company has retained Marotta Gund Budd & Dzera as restructuring advisors to assist the Company in exploring its options.
TX-based Works, Inc. released Works Procisa v2.2 this morning. The electronic payment solution helps companies minimize the number of checks they issue and settle payment transactions electronically through use of commercial credit cards. The new version, which is currently available through VISA financial institutions, PNC Bank and SunTrust Bank, offers enhancements that will streamline payment and back-office accounting processes for high-volume transactions and make management of commercial credit card programs easier. One new feature of the Works Procisa solution is a streamlined accounting process which allows transactions with specific suppliers to be automatically tagged with the associated General Ledger codes. Another new feature is enhanced spending visibility which provides a number of enhancements that give authorized managers access to detailed spending activity as it occurs. This includes information on commercial card program spending metrics, such as access to total spending-to-date and average spend and transactions per card.
Denver-based InfoNow Corporation has named Jeffrey Peotter, former VP of corporate development for BEA Systems, to its Board of Directors. Peotter brings over 21 years of software and high-tech experience to InfoNow and recently served as vice president of corporate development for BEA Systems, a leading enterprise software provider.
TX-based Billserv has reorganized its product line and will offer its branded “eServ” and “eConsulting” services to billers with either an outsourced or an in-house electronic billing solution. The reorganization and new services are designed to maximize the value of EBPP solutions by leveraging Billserv’s core competency of delivering highly interactive, customer-centric electronic billing services to billers in a hosted environment.
Equifax has expanded its U.S. commercial business by offering detailed reports on small businesses that include both bank payment performance data and non-banking trade receivable histories. This new offering will empower credit-grantors to make better-informed decisions when working with small businesses. More than 40 companies have agreed to provide data and have submitted receivables information to Equifax, supplementing the 30 SBFE member companies already providing data.