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Bull and InfoRealite Create Joint-Venture Smart Card Company XIRING
(Business Wire; 06/29/98)

Bull announced today in the United States that it has created a new 
company -- XIRING -- as a parity-owned joint subsidiary with InfoRealite Group, 
Strasbourg, France. XIRING has been formed to design, develop and market 
innovative, low-cost and user-friendly smart card-related products for broad 
worldwide markets. The new company, based in France, also has bought the 
corresponding assets of the OKI Advanced Products division of the Japanese 
company OKI.

     XIRING leverages the complementary strengths of Bull's smart card 
technology and InfoRealite's expertise in telecommunications. Initially 
focusing on pocket-sized personal smart card readers, XIRING, with the addition 
of assets and products made by OKI, claims the top spot in the worldwide pocket 
reader market for electronic purse applications, with more than three million 
readers in use.

     XIRING's products facilitate and develop the use of smart cards by 
providing a variety of functions:

     --Read and display information contained in various types of cards, 
ranging from telephone cards and electronic purses, to health care cards and 
loyalty cards

     --Load money onto electronic purse cards using innovative communication 

     --New smart card-based applications using various communications methods, 
such as telephone lines, hertzian broadcasting, television and radio, and

     --Euro conversion, a basic function on the XIRING products.

     "Fueled by the growing acceptance of smart card applications, XIRING will 
capitalize on the consumer market for personal card readers, forecasted to 
generate revenue of more than $300 million by 2003,"said David Levy, general 
manager of Bull's Smart Cards & Terminals Division. "The number of electronic 
purse smart cards will multiply ten-fold by 2003, surpassing over 500 millions 
units worldwide. Portable file applications, such as health, driver license and 
loyalty, will have generated at this time an equivalent number of cards. Mass 
transit, lotteries, and security applications will also increase this number.

     "InfoRealite Group offers technologies that are complementary to those of 
Bull, especially in the field of telecommunications," Levy said. "Furthermore, 
we are interested in the consumer products developed by InfoRealite such as 
`Tags,' which are marking products that use contactless technology."

     Michel Schott, president of the InfoRealite Group, said, "By combining new 
consumer-oriented communications and smart card technologies, XIRING opens up 
an extraordinary range of new applications that are practical and attractive to 
consumers. By combining the expertise of both principal companies, XIRING 
achieves a market position that gives it a competitive edge and added value for 

     XIRING will continue the product lines already marketed by Bull's Smart 
Cards & Terminals Division. These include the pocket readers such as the 
VisaCash electronic purse used at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996; more than one 
million units of this kind of product have already been sold. XIRING also will 
offer hand-held calculator-type devices that allow health professionals to 
obtain information contained on the Vitale 1 French health card. InfoRealite's 
technologies will provide communications features for XIRING products, such as 
electronic purse reloading devices based on acoustic coupler techniques or 
electronic coupon devices using RDS radio wave receptors.

     "It was only logical that we bring together, in a separate company, all of 
these products, which are in complete synergy with Bull's cards and terminals 
products and InfoRealite's communication division, but which are another line 
of business," Levy and Schott said. "Separately from XIRING, however, Bull's 
line payment terminals and professional readers and the communication devices 
division in InfoRealite will continue to experience exceptional growth in their 
current organizations."

     Already, XIRING has gained the support of leading international payment 
operators. "The development and evolution of payment facilities, such as the 
advent of electronic commerce, the development of electronic purses, and multi-
application payment systems, generates a need for consumers to be equipped with 
personalized readers," said Bernard Morvant, vice president of Visa 

     "The support provided to bankers and operators by strong and competent 
industrial partners dedicated to this business will be a key factor in the 
success of these new payment facilities," Morvant said.

     According to George Liberman, who is managing the creation of the newly-
formed company, XIRING has several key assets. "Markets involving smart cards 
are in the process of opening up everywhere in the world, not only for payment 
facilities, but also for transportation, healthcare, loyalty and games," he 
said. "The associated companies have decisive qualities, in terms of both 
mastered technologies and the strength of their respective businesses.

     "In addition," Liberman said, "XIRING reaps the immediate benefits of an 
existing base of roughly 80 large clients, including banks, payment operators 
and distributors, who have already made more than three million XIRING products 
available to consumers in 18 countries. These key assets will contribute to the 
success of XIRING, whose ambition is to develop and consolidate its worldwide 
leadership in this market.

About Bull Smart Cards & Terminals

     Bull designs and markets a wide range of contact and contactless 
microprocessor cards, payment terminals and automatic points of contact 
including cash dispensers and multimedia kiosk POS terminals. In 1997, these 
activities generated revenue of $237 million, an increase of 32 percent over 

     The history of smart cards at Bull goes back to 1979 when Bull's Michel 
Ugon, in collaboration with Motorola, invented the world's first microprocessor 
card (CP8 technology). Today, all of the world's roughly 210 million 
microprocessor cards use Bull CP8 technology, either for the micro-electronic 
part (SPOM - Self-Programmable One chip Memory) patent or for Bull operating 

     Bull is world leader in the electronic purse segment with more than 27 
million cards in use in ten countries. Approximately 60 percent of bank cards 
used in the world today have been designed by Bull. In addition, Bull is a 
leader in electronic payment terminals, with 650,000 machines installed 
worldwide. More information on Bull Smart Cards & Terminals can be found at, on Groupe Bull's Web site, http ://, and 
at the company's U.S. Web site,

About InfoRealite

     InfoRealite is a high-tech industrial group based in Vendenheim, near 
Strasbourg, France. The company designs, manufactures and markets innovative 
products mainly in the field of telecommunication. The know-how of its 360 
people covers all the activities of research and development, manufacturing, 
project management and marketing of a high technological value-added range of 

     InfoRealite's main technologies and product lines in the field of 
communication include:

     --  Paging terminals using FM sub-carrier (RDS)

     --  Digital modems (ISDN)

     -- 433 MHz radio communication modules (meter-reading, remote control, 

     -- Electronic shelf labels (radio-transmission)

     -- Contactless identification devices (DSC(R))

     Sales in 1997 for the InfoRealite Group were 301 million FF, an increase 
of 50 percent compared to 1996 results. InfoRealite is listed at the Paris 
stock exchange. More information is available at

     CP8 is a trademark of Bull S.A. All trademarks, service marks and company 
names are the property of their respective owners.

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