American Banknote Corp. announced the acquisition of two French companies active in the card and check production market.

American Banknote, a leading international document printer and card manufacturer, did not disclose the terms. It said the acquirees, MCE and CPS Finances, had combined sales of $15 million last year.

MCE is the fourth-largest provider of check personalization services in France. It becomes part of the largest company in that market, Sati Group, which American Banknote acquired in August 1997.

CPS is the country's fifth-largest card personalizer. It marks the entry into Europe for American Banknote's transaction card and systems group, which supports both magnetic stripe and smart card distribution.

"Smart card technology was originally developed in France and we look forward to working with some of the leaders there," said Morris Weissman, the New York-based company's chairman and chief executive officer.

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