Schlumberger said it has bought an 80% interest in CardTech, a Brazilian maker of magnetic stripe cards for the financial industry.

Schlumberger, which has key chip card offices in France and the United States, said the deal reflects its desire to have a manufacturing presence in markets where smart cards have significant growth potential.

The company has 10 factories, including one in Mexico.

Gerard Leger, president of Schlumberger Test & Transactions Europe, said, "An industrial presence is critical to the Brazilian banking community as it undertakes a shift from magnetic stripe cards to smart cards."

"The market in Latin America is set to double over the next three years and will represent an increasingly important share of the world smart card market," said Patrick Adiba, vice president of Schlumberger Test & Transactions, South America. The CardTech and Mexican facilities "will allow us to become a key player in the region."

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