The nation's second-largest merchant processor has gone public, and shares are trading above the asking price.

Louisville, Ky.-based National Processing Inc. expected to sell 6.5 million of its common stock at $16.50 per share.

However, shares have been trading in the $18-$19 range since the subsidiary of National City Corp. went public Aug. 9. As of Friday afternoon, the price was $18.50.

The offering represents about 13% of the common shares, the rest being retained by National City.

In a prospectus, the company said 60% of the proceeds will fund future acquisitions, 15% will be invested in technology, and the remainder will be used for general corporate purposes.

National Processing - formerly National City Processing - joined other transaction processors that have had successful IPOs, such as First USA Paymentech, Nova Information Systems Inc., and PMT Services Inc.

Last Thursday, National Processing reported a 16.7% increase in net income from the second quarter of 1995, to $7.3 million. Tony G. Holcombe, president and chief executive, said the results were in line with expectations of growth and profitability.

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