American Banknote Corp. is gaining better access to the Canadian market for plastic cards through the acquisition of Keystone Manufacturing (Plastics) Ltd. of Toronto.
In addition to geography, American Banknote and its subsidiary company, ABnote Group, will gain from Keystone's reputation in smart cards, cards with a memory chip or microprocessor embedded in them. Such cards can perform more secure and complex functions than cards with a magnetic strip or bar code, said Justin D'Angelo, American Banknote's chief operating officer.
``[Keystone's] core competency is in smart cards, which we can leverage throughout our group,'' D'Angelo said by telephone from his firm's headquarters in Fort Lee, N.J.
In turn, Keystone will benefit from the recycling experience of Arthur Blank & Co. Inc. of Boston, a well-known card manufacturer acquired by American Banknote in May. Retailers that sell gift cards would like to recycle more of the millions of cards they issue each year. Arthur Blank also is developing cards made of corn-based plastics as part of its green portfolio, D'Angelo noted.
Keystone also can capitalize on American Banknote's work in polycarbonate cards, a new technology alternative to the ubiquitous PVC cards and lesser-used ABS cards, according to Bud Kronenberg, Keystone's chief executive officer.
American Banknote's European subsidiaries are developing PC cards that have very high security features. They can be laser-etched to create patterns that are harder to duplicate than patterns printed on a card, according to Kronenberg. PC cards are more expensive but could find initial use in North America in homeland security applications, and also within various government agencies, Kronenberg said.
Keystone allows American Banknote better access to Canada at a time when the U.S. and Canada are moving toward the European trend of chip-embedded cards and when cross-border identification becomes paramount at the countries' common border, said American Banknote Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven Singer, in a news release.
``Acquiring Keystone fulfills, in part, our strategic growth plan, further enabling us to become a major global force in both the secure and nonsecure elements of card production,'' D'Angelo said.
Kronenberg and his management team will continue with the Keystone business, according to the companies.
The firms did not disclose financial terms of the March 17 transaction.