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Smart card firm Gemplus signed a deal Monday to acquire electronic passport and security printing firm Setec in a combined cash and stock deal valued at between €125m and €155m. The agreement is subject to certain standard closing conditions, including regulatory clearance.

Gemplus has agreed to pay at least €30m and 19m Gemplus shares to gain full ownership of Setec. A maximum of €30m extra will be paid depending on a defined order backlog at the end of 2005. The transaction is expected to be boost Gemplus's profitability from the first year. The deal strengthens Gemplus' expertise in the security printing business, which is important for success in the Identity market and for the migration from conventional ID documents to electronic documents.

Setec is a privately held company based in Finland with an annual turnover of €58.5m and around 350 employees. It is part of the consortium that was recently awarded the Singaporean e-passport contract, in cooperation with Gemplus. ®

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