Atmel looks to benefit from smartcard revival

Atmel looks to benefit from smartcard revival
Alex Mayhew-Smith Atmel has said it will triple sales in the next three years at the Scottish smartcard chip business it is acquiring from Motorola. Donald Colvin, Atmel’s chief financial officer, said he expected Motorola’s smart information transfer (SIT) business in East Kilbride to make $100m by the year 2002. Motorola will retain the site’s fab but will transfer designs and other related assets to Atmel. Despite the failure of the smartcard market to meet growth expectations in recent years, Colvin said the market will grow with the emergence of new applications. “The only way the Internet can develop will be with the ability to ensure secure payment. This will be done with the use of smartcard technology – it will come,” said Colvin. Atmel, which Colvin said was missing a UK facility, plans to retain all the site’s staff. “It is our intention to take all the staff, preserve the heart of the business and grow it,” said Colvin. “The acquisition will give us the customer contacts we need.” With the acquisition, Atmel – which had a $1.1bn turnover for the last financial year – will increase its market share to ten per cent. Daniel Hoste, general manager of Motorola’s SIT division, said his company’s strategy was now to exit the smartcard IC business, although it will keep its worldwide smartcard systems business. The acquisition is expected to go through by the second quarter of the year at the latest and will not dilute Atmel’s 1999 earnings.


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