Protx founders sell to Sage

Protx Group, a provider of secure online payment services, has been sold to accountancy software giant Sage in a £20m cash deal.

The company was started by a group of private investors in 2001and has developed a strong hold in the small and medium business sector, where internet retail sales are forecast to grow at 35% per annum.

With a customer base of more than 10,000, the company has gained approval from all major banks to facilitate secure on-line transactions, including Lloyds TSB Cardnet, Bank of Scotland, Barclays Merchant Services, HSBC and Natwest Streamline.

Adding new customers at a net rate of 350 per month, turnover for the year ended March 31 was £1.9 million, up 97% from £967,000. EBITDA was a loss of £20,000 (from £536,000 in 2005) but the six months to September 30 show profits of £264,000 based on £1.5m revenues.

Michael Alculumbre, managing director of Protx and one of the exiting shareholders, said, “This is an exciting time for the payment processing industry. The combined expertise of Sage and Protx has the potential to revolutionise e-commerce in the UK.”

The acquisition of Protx bolsters Sage’s vision to provide a broader business solution for small businesses, and will eventually enable them to link and integrate merchant services with back-office accounting, stock control and CRM applications. Sage acquired US firm Verus, which offer similar services, earlier this year.

Paul Walker, chief executive of the Sage Group, commented, “The acquisition of Protx brings Sage the capability to integrate secure payment systems with our business management software. With Protx in the UK and Verus in the US, we continue our strategy to expand into new adjacent markets and broaden the range of services we can offer our SME customers.”

Paul Stobart, cheif executive officer of Sage UK and Ireland region, added, “We are very excited about the acquisition of Protx. Their team brings great software and domain knowledge in the online payment services space and the combination of this and Sage’s resources and scale provides us with considerable opportunities for growth.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2006

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