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Business News Americas
Arango Plans Expansion To Chile, Puerto Rico
May 29, 2003
Panamanian banking solutions developer Arango Software intends to enter the markets of Puerto Rico and Chile during 2003, while closing some new distribution deals in Mexico, company chairman Julio Arango told BNamericas.
After studying the Puerto Rican market the company decided to open offices there given the growth potential of its Ab@nks banking solution in the local cooperatives segment, the executive said, adding at the moment the only solutions of this type on the market in Puerto Rico are being promoted by a single local developer, Helvetia.
Arango said the Ab@nks application is the firm's main product and that it permits users to administer funds in current, savings and time deposit accounts, and helps administer the allocation of loans or credit lines. The software offers clients direct access to their accounts from mobile telephones, the Internet, PDA devices and interactive or Internet connected TVs.
The company has already launched seven versions of this banking solution and the last in 2000 was the fruit of an R&D investment approaching US$1mn. The firm is also preparing to unveil Version 8 late 2003, with an investment of about US$1.2mn.
The company has offices in Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador and Panama, while in Venezuela it has a distribution deal with Advances Service International, a Venezuelan-Mexican JV. In the Dominican Republic, local dealer Datocentro is the official channel and in Colombia Arango is represented by local consultancy Software y Consultaria.
Mexico is the main market, where Arango's network of proprietary offices is complemented by the distribution alliance with Advances Service International. Mr Arango said the firm is currently negotiating with two more Mexican distributors which he declined to name. However, the director did say he expected agreements to be signed and sealed before end-2003.
Arango said the firm is now participating in tenders to supply two Chilean department stores with its credit card and electronic payment solution Sunnel. Again he declined to give further details, saying only that the solution can administer the issuing of well-known credit cards, charge cards and so called smart cards.
The executive added that the firm registered sales of US$10mn in 2002 in terms of license sales, software implementation and training. He forecast 12% growth in billing this year, saying it was a conservative estimate bearing in mind the various crises affecting the region early 2003.
"The crisis in Venezuela has affected us a lot, as has the Iraq war. Various banks postponed decisions they normally make in January, and which are only being taken now. The Baninter financial scandal in the Dominican Republic also had repercussions on our business," he said.
Arango Software (www.arango.com) started operations in Panama in 1985, investing just US$100,000. The current client portfolio includes 80 banks, such as Banco Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia), Banco de la Republica de Colombia, Banco Federal and Banco del Sur (Venezuela), Bancomex and Nafinsa (Mexico), Banco Nacional de Costa Rica and Banco del Pacifico (Ecuador), among other cooperatives and mutual societies in the region.