Prism Transwitch Services now fully black-empowered

JOHANNESBURG (02/05/2004) - Prism Transwitch Services (PTSS) -- South African provider of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and bill payment processing services in the retail and financial sectors -- is now a fully "black empowered" company.

This follows the fulfilment of all conditions precedent -- including Competition Board approval -- to the sale of 25.1 percent of the company by JSE-listed Prism Holdings to Gijima Technologies. Gijima is a 100 percent black-owned entity focused on ICT as well as telecommunications and smart card technologies. The first R12,3 million (US$1.8 million) transaction of the R15,3 million cash payable by Gijima in terms of the sales agreement has been received by Prism.

Mike Smith, MD Prism TranSwitch Services, says the partnership with Gijima will enable PTSS to broaden its existing business base. "We are very excited about this empowerment deal as it strongly supports our transformation initiatives and our drive to expand our business further into both public and private sector markets. We look forward to actively working with Gijima, a focused and hands-on company, that brings a complementary set of skills and experience to the TranSwitch Services camp.

"At present, PTSS switches over 150 million transactions per annum on behalf of major retailers, including Pick n Pay, Shoprite and Edcon, making it the largest independent transaction processor in the domestic retail space. Its infrastructure and technologies are ideal for the extension of secure transaction services to the country's unbanked.

By leveraging Gijima's presence in the government and parastatal technology space, PTSS will be well placed to work with parastatals and government to provide existing and new services to a broader spectrum of the SA market," he adds.

Gijima has appointed two directors to the board of PTSS, Robert Matana Gumede, Executive chairman of Gijima Technologies, and Vuyo Sikwebu. Gumede says Gijima will "hit the ground running" with PTSS, now that the deal has been finalized. "Gijima is thrilled to be the first 100 percent black-owned company involved in the transaction switching business in this country.

We are looking forward to being able to extend the PTSS service suite to both private and public sector partners. With PTSS' infrastructure and reach, we know that we can offer government a cost-effective and efficient electronic payments scheme for distributing pension payouts, UIF, grants and the like to the South African people.

"This deal is not a passive investment, but a true partnership, which benefits from complementary skills and technologies. Gijima believes that the future of the financial services industry, both private and public, will depend on switching capabilities and broad access to such facilities. Our partnership with PTSS allows us to fulfill our goal of getting operationally involved in the transaction switching arena," Gumede concludes.

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