SOURCE: Axalto

March 16, 2006 02:00 ET

Axalto Selected for the Portuguese Electronic Passport Program

Amsterdam -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 16, 2006 -- Axalto receives first order from Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, the Portuguese Mint and Official Printing Office

Amsterdam / Lisboa, March 16, 2006 - Axalto (Euronext NL0000400653 AXL), the world's leader in microprocessor cards, today announced it has been selected by the Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda (INCM), the Portuguese national printing agency, to provide the electronic covers for the national e-passport roll out. Under the agreement, the INCM will use Axseal technology to manufacture and personalize the passport booklets to be provided to Portuguese citizens.

Initial quantities of e-passports will be produced and delivered to Portuguese citizens in the next few months, while the INCM expects to ramp up production to 150 000 e-passports in 2006. By fall 2006, all new Portuguese passports should have the electronic capability incorporated. The INCM currently produces 400 000 passports each year.

Axseal, the electronic passport technology by Axalto, includes the company's highly secure operating software with cryptographic capabilities running on a large capacity contactless chip that is embedded in the booklet's back coversheet. Axalto also provides INCM with electronic solution to manufacture personalized e-passports, designed and developed in cooperation with Multicert, a Portuguese firm specialized in the production and management of digital certificates and electronic signatures which INCM is a founding partner.

INCM commented: "the Portuguese authorities have decided to move forward with the electronic passport in accordance with ICAO international standards and EU regulatory framework. This new generation of electronic passport will contribute to better protect citizens when traveling. Given the ambitious project and tight timeframe, we are happy to partner with Axalto whose recognized expertise in digital security technology, experience in microelectronic software and personalization of e-documents has been instrumental in our decision. By our side, INCM is upgrading the production line to involve personalization and developing the production associated digital management system."

About Axalto

Axalto (Euronext: NL0000400653 AXL) is the world's leading provider of microprocessor cards (Gartner 2005, Frost & Sullivan 2004) - the key to digital networks - and a major supplier of point-of-sale terminals. Its 4500 employees come from over 60 nationalities and serve customers in more than 100 countries, with worldwide sales exceeding 3 billion smart cards to date. The company has 25 years' experience in smart card innovation and leads its industry in security technology and open systems.

Axalto continuously creates new generations of products for use in a variety of applications in the telecommunications, finance, retail, transport, entertainment, healthcare, personal identification, information technology and public sector markets. Microprocessor cards provide convenience, security and privacy to public and private services operators, their customers and end users. For more info, please visit

About INCM

Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda (INCM), the Portuguese Official Printing Office and Mint, is a limited company of public founds. The enterprise is in charge of producing goods and services essential to the functioning of the Portuguese State, such as minting metal coin and issuing official publications, including namely the Government's journal "Diário da República".

The production of security documents of new generation such as the future passport is a great challenge to INCM. The evolution that the new technologies underwent turned this activity into a strategic area for the company's development, enabling INCM to supply the Public Administration with the most advanced and secure identity documents, at the same time as the company is going deeper into the market so as to respond to the needs of a wide range of companies and organizations, like banks.

The authentication of precious metal artifacts and the publishing of essential works of the Portuguese and universal culture complete the range of activities that define the business profile of INCM.

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