Axalto wins e-passport work from Czech Republic

Axalto N.V. won a five-year contract for digital security technology to be used in electronic passports for citizens of the Czech Republic. The company did not disclose the contract amount.

Under the contract, Axalto will furnish its smart-card technology called Axseal, which features a highly secure operating system with advanced cryptographic capabilities that run on a large-capacity contactless chip. The operating system meets international security common criteria and is compliant with the latest International Civil Aviation Organization standards and with the European Union regulatory framework.

Trueb AG, a secure printing company in Switzerland, will provide the Czech national printing agency, Statni Tiskarna Cenin, with a polycarbonate data page embedding Axalto's advanced secure electronic passport technology.

The Czech government plans to deliver the first e-passports to its citizens by early April, then increase production to 200,000 e-passports by the end of the year. The Czech Republic produces 500,000 to 600,000 passports a year. The Axalto contract includes 3 million pieces by 2010.

Axalto has won similar contracts for e-passports in other countries, including France, Portugal, Russia and the United States. Other countries' e-passports must comply with a U.S. requirement that takes effect in October, whereby the documents must include digitized facial photos and electronic data to maintain visa-free travel in the United States.

Based in Montrouge, France, Axalto offers digital security as well as smart cards and point-of-sale terminals for retail, banking and telecom applications. It sells to both public and private sector customers worldwide, with operations concentrated in Europe and the United States.

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