In a move that would allow it to capture a large proportion of the German market for ePassports and ID cards, the world’s second largest smart card manufacturer Giesecke & Devrient has indicated it is eyeing up a possible acquisition of Bundesdruckerei, the former German federal printing house.
G&D has a reasonably good position in the international arena for electronic passports and personal ID card projects, however it does not have a strong foothold in the German market. The company said it is preparing for opportunities that will result from the imminent opening up of the ID card market. In particular, that applies to electronic personal ID cards as well as to the electronic residence permit expected to be in place throughout the EU by 2009.
In a statement G&D’s CEO Karsten Ottenberg said: “To the best of our knowledge, the German Ministry of the Interior is currently trying to resolve the matter of how to handle the awarding of contracts for personal ID cards in Germany. We will be keeping a close eye on the situation and getting ready for the eventual invitation to tender by developing appropriate products and planning their production.”
He continued: “On that note, I would briefly like to touch on the possible sale of Germany’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Bundesdruckerei…For Giesecke & Devrient, acquiring the federal agency remains an option on our strategic agenda.” Ottenburg said that G&D’s financial muscle would have no problem in financing such a transaction, but a decision would have to be made based on a valuation of Bundesdruckerei and its earning power.