Gemplus, the French smart card manufacturer, said it will open a production plant in Mexico.

The company will invest $20 million to build the largest such plant in Latin America. It will create 200 jobs in Mexico and within two years it should be pumping out 100 million smart cards annually.

The new facility will initially produce phone cards, mostly for Telmex.

Gemplus said it supplies nearly 85% of all smart cards to the Latin American market.

In related news, Gemplus said British Telecom announced a nationwide rollout of 60,000 smart card pay phones, following a successful pilot in the South of England.

Gemplus is one of two suppliers providing smart cards for the trial. The nationwide rollout will include close to 30 million cards issued in the first year.

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