HPS sourcing its talent and expanding its networking in Aix-en-Provence

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HPS sourcing its talent and expanding its networking in Aix-en-Provence
01 June 2017 / Grow your business, Internet of Things, Software/Digital Services & Consulting

Acpqualife's French subsidiary in charge of R & D expands

The Moroccan international group HPS, leaders in the field of electronic money, acquired Aix-en-Provence -based Acpqualife in 2010. A few years later, in late 2016, the French subsidiary responsible for R&D moved into more spacious premises at Aix's Pichaury Business Park. A strategic element in the electronic money specialist's business activities, R&D has been taking on even greater importance in Provence, with new hirings in 2017 and strong partnerships with Gemalto and DigDash Enterprise. Aix-Marseille is proving to be fertile ground for the payment solution sector.

What if the impetus for growth in Aix-Marseille came from the southern shores of the Mediterranean?  Casablanca-based HPS, publishers of electronic payment software for banks and financial services companies (American Express, Crédit Agricole, CMI, First National Bank…) established in 1995, gained a foothold in France in 2010 with the purchase of Acpqualife. Since the takeover of the Aix-based company, the Group also has been offering consultancy and training services in very specialized field of software testing. Air France, Amadeus and CMA-CGM are among those having had recourse to their services.

Provence Promotion assisting Acpqualife with hiring

In the high-tech sector, research and development is vital in maintaining an edge over the competition. "Each year, we set aside 10% of our earnings for R&D, around $4M. Acpqualife's R&D center is constantly growing. In 2016, we hired 45 engineers in France. This year, we expect to hire another twenty, around half of which will be based in Aix. The region has a large electronic payment talent pool. Also, the quality of life in the South is a real advantage when it comes to attracting engineers from other regions. We can rely on Provence Promotion to assist us with our hiring and to keep us up to date on developments on the local economic scene," points out Philippe Vigand, CEO of Acpqualife and vice-president of HPS.

In anticipation of this growth, Acpqualife has had to leave the Les Milles Business Park for larger premises in Aix's Pichaury district. Among the move-related costs, the Group invested €200,000 in fitting out the new premises with the latest communication technologies (video conferencing) in order to be able to communicate with the 85 countries around the world where HPS markets its software.

Partnerships with Gemalto and DigDash Enterprise

Since 2015, HPS has been partnering on R&D with Gemalto to develop new mobile payment solutions (Apple Play, Samsung Play). "In 2016, we signed our first contracts with clients in Japan, Spain, France, Mexico and Malaysia," says Philippe Vigand, who has also signed a partnership with DigDash Enterprise, an SME based in the home of French microelectronics, Meyreuil, that supplies HPS with business intelligence tools.

Listed on the Casablanca stock exchange, the HPS Group employs 400 persons, of which 100 in France. Fifty-two percent owned by its founders, HPS welcomed a new shareholder at the beginning of 2017 in the US investment bank Morgan Stanley. The Group's earnings rose from $37M in 2015 to $51M in 2016, an increase of 37.4%. Profits for the multi-modal payments specialists increased by 48.3% in 2016 to $6.2M.  In 2017, HPS expects its earnings to grow by 20%.