Belgium’s bpost has sold part of its Certipost business relating to the exchange of electronic documents, for EUR 18.2m.
The sale was completed today with the Finnish purchase-to-pay and e-invoicing company Basware.
bpost said Certipost would continue to provide secure document and digital certification services, along with the Belgian electronic identity card following the deal.
The national postal operator said selling off the network and e-Invoicing business of Certipost would ensure it continues growth within a company for whom exchange of electronic invoices is a core part of the business. The Basware brand also means Certipost customers could be reassured that service excellence would continue in electronic invoicing, bpost said.
Certipost was founded in 2002 by bpost and Belgacom, but bpost was sole shareholder from 2008. The company is based in Aalst, and has 84 employees.
Certipost had more than 85,000 companies connected to its platform as of 2011, with more than 100,000 companies reached across Europe through the company’s roaming system.
bpost said 76 of Certipost’s staff are involved in the electronic document exchange department, and will transfer to Basware as of 2nd January, 2013.
From that date, activities related to document security, digital certificates and the Belgian electronic identity card will transfer to bpost.
Basware has more than 1,500 clients and one million individual users in 60 countries for its open network, with 800,000 active buyers and suppliers connected with more than 140 partner networks. bpost said it was “unavoidable” for its Certipost business to join a European or global player for its development to continue.
Gert Roeckx, CEO of Certipost, said: “Basware will enable Certipost to grow even stronger in the Benelux market. The combined network will allow us to reach more trading partners in Europe, increase technological innovation and develop the small and medium enterprise market in Belgium and the Netherlands.”
Johnny Thijs, CEO of bpost said: “This sale is a good deal for all parties involved. The importance of customer database in Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as expertise in EDI Certipost were dominant in the conclusion of an agreement for the development of subsequent Certipost. Moreover, bpost will continue to offer electronic solutions to its customers via Basware. ”
Last month at a UPU event in Brussels, Thijs said digital communications was no longer seen as a core part of the bpost’s business, and that instead the company was in the process of shifting its focus more towards parcels.
Espoo-based Basware said it is aiming to become the global leader in business commerce transactions, providing 150m transactions by 2015. The company said adding the Certipost network would mean 12m more transactions on its open network each year.
Esa Tihilä, the Basware CEO, said: “We are actively looking for possibilities to gain a stronger position in selected markets both organically and through acquisitions. The synergy benefits of the acquired network and e-Invoicing assets of Certipost derive from accelerated growth potential: our global Open Network will expand further and our offering for small and medium enterprises will increase.
“Certipost’s extensive expertise in electronic data interchange (EDI) was also crucial in the establishment of an agreement. Together, we will grow stronger in the Benelux market, with joined global offering for all of our customers. Strategically, we will achieve significant market position with a single acquisition in the Benelux, where we expect the e-Invoicing market to grow substantially in the upcoming years,” added the Basware CEO.