equity in motion

AdAstra News: AdAstra invests € 3m in ASK S.A., Sophia Antipolis, France

Sophia Antipolis / Munich Oct. 24,2002 ASK S.A., the leading manufacturer of contactless smart cards for mass transit raised € 16.3m in a third round of funding. The round was lead by Apax with participation from new investors AdAstra and iGlobe Partners. Existing investors CDC Innovation, Credit Lyonnais Private Equity and Banque de Vizille joined the round.

ASK which was founded in 1997 and is based in Sophia Antipolis, France, reported revenues of € 11.6m with break even in 2001. ASK designs and manufactures a comprehensive product range extending from the low cost consumable smart papers to the most advanced multi-application smart cards which combine contact and contactless technology. ASK's smart cards are used in the fast growing markets of transportation, access control, payment and entertainment. The company will use the funds to accelerate international growth and to expand production.

"In the current economic slowdown we have enjoyed rapid growth," said Georges Kayanakis, president of ASK. "As a result, we enjoy the continued confidence of our early investors and we attracted new partners that are well suited to helping us achieve our goals of international expansion, and our primary objective of being a major player worldwide in the contactless smart card industry. Apax Partners are recognized international players and our other new investors, AdAstra in Germany and iGlobe Partners in Singapore, bring a significant presence and experience in two regions that are essential to our growth."

"Due to its best of breed technology solutions, ASK has already achieved the leading market position in mass transportation. We are confident that the experienced management team lead by Georges Kayanakis will continue to outgrow the market after almost doubling sales this year in a difficult market environment," explained Marc Breitfeld, Investment Director of AdAstra.

About ASK:
ASK, based in Sophia-Antipolis, France, designs, manufactures and markets contactless products for mass transportation, access control and multi-application systems such as loyalty schemes, e-purse or city / corporate cards. Founded in 1997, ASK developed patented technology and a unique range of products to address the fast growing contactless smart card market. ASK has strong worldwide references and partnerships with the major system integrators.
More information is available on www.ask.fr.



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