Transaction Network Services Inc. said its Irish subsidiary, TNS Ltd., acquired a 50% interest in the transaction processor Atos Ireland Ltd. for $1.8 million.

Atos Ireland had been wholly owned by Atos Ltd. of the United Kingdom, which is majority owned by Atos Group, a French computer services company.

The joint Irish venture will be known as Transwitch, with Patrick Kirby, managing director of TNS Ltd., also overseeing its day-to-day operations.

TNS, which specializes in data transport services for transaction processing networks, said Transwitch is the only independent processor in the Irish market. It provides automated teller machine management, point of sale card processing, and terminal polling services to banks and others. Its largest customer is a group of financial institutions known as Cashere, and it sees major growth opportunities in debit cards and electronic benefits transfer, Mr. Kirby said.

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