Concord EFS Inc. has formed an alliance with E-Com Systems Inc. to develop an Internet-based service for grocery wholesalers and supermarket chains.

Using software called EC Connect, trading partners would be able to send and receive electronic data interchange transactions and associated electronic payments.

Electronic data interchange lets trading partners automate the handling of paper-based transactions and related documents such as purchase orders, invoices, and shipping notices.

E-Com Systems, a unit of Orange Technologies Inc., Gaithersburg, Md., developed the software.

Memphis-based Concord EFS, a transaction processor for small merchants and soon to be the parent of the automated teller and merchant processing giant Electronic Payment Services Inc., will support the alliance through its subsidiary, EFS National Bank.

Concord EFS merchant customers, including 9,000 supermarkets, will have "a full complement of services for every business transaction executed," said Edward A. Labry 3d, president of Concord.

Its stock was trading Friday afternoon at $39.28, up $4.78 for the week. The stock is up 136% for the year and is in favor among its seven financial analysts.

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