ATLANTA - Payment processor Nova Corp. will form a joint venture with Bank of Ireland to expand into Europe, the companies said Tuesday.

The new company, EuroConex Technologies Limited, would process credit, debit, and chip cards for small and midsize merchants. The venture will also become the exclusive European distributor of e-commerce and business-to-business services provided by Econex LLC, a U.S.-based Web software company for small and midsize businesses. Nova is a majority owner of Econex.

EuroConex is to assume the 13,000 small and midsize merchants for which the Dublin-based bank now processes transactions. EuroConex is to use Nova's processing platform. Nova and Bank of Ireland will have 50-50 ownership.

"Bank of Ireland brings an existing business base, knowledge of the complex and evolving European market, and the ability to process multi-currency transactions," said Edward Grzedzinski, chairman and chief executive officer of Nova. Billy Saunderson, a 20-year veteran of Bank of Ireland, is to be CEO of EuroConex. Mr. Grzedzinski will be chairman of the new company.

On Monday, Nova reported first-quarter revenues of $370.7 million, a 19% increase from the year earlier. Net income was $18.8 million, up 34%.

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