Paragon expands again with cards buy


Paragon Group has expanded its Paragon ID business with the takeover of payment and loyalty card specialist Thames Technology, in a move that means the Business Growth Fund will exit its investment in the acquired business.

Essex-based Thames Technology designs, manufactures and personalises payment and retail cards. It produces more than 250m cards a year for customers in over 60 countries.

The Business Growth Fund invested £3.1m in the business in 2013 to help with its growth plans, and will end its involvement as a result of the Paragon takeover.

Paragon ID is listed on the French Euronext exchange and its majority shareholder is Paragon Group. The business specialises in smart cards, transport tickets, secure ID documents, RFID and NFC tags, and labels. A year ago the firm entered the payments market with the acquisition of AmaTech group, and the Thames Technology buy marks a significant further expansion into the area.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Paragon ID chief executive Clem Garvey said: “The acquisition of Thames firmly positions us in the payment card space, with our own EMV-certified site, while also providing us with manufacturing and personalisation capacity in Britain for smart-cards which can be used across all of our existing business activities. We are delighted to welcome the Thames team to the Paragon ID group and look forward to great success together.”

Thames Technology had sales of £19.5m in 2017 after benefiting from a large one-off contract. Its 2018 results are unavailable as the firm’s year-end was subsequently extended to 31 March 2019.

The business, previously known as Thames Card Technology, was founded in 1994 and works for a raft of clients including MBNA, TUI, Tesco Clubcard and Waitrose.

Che Colford, operations director at Thames Technology, said the team at the Rayleigh business was “happy and excited” to join Paragon ID.

“Our markets are becoming increasingly characterised by the convergence of applications across the domains of payment, identity and transportation and are also becoming increasingly international. Joining an internationally-renowned, industrial group with strong presence in these markets makes a lot of sense for Thames and its stakeholders.”

Just last week Paragon Group made another major acquisition with the purchase of RR Donnelley’s European Global Document Solutions business, propelling sales beyond the €1bn (£861m) landmark.

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