ALVARA gets new sister companies Safelogy and MLSA

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With the support of its investor Silver Investment Partners (SIP), ALVARA Cash Management Group AG is growing beyond Germany's borders as planned. CMH Group, the wholly-owned parent company of ALVARA AG, acquires the French companies Safelogy SAS (Safelogy) and MLSA SAS (MLSA). ALVARA thus achieves the next milestone towards becoming the European market leader for software solutions in cash management.

Leipzig, May 16, 2019 - The CMH Group takes over the French companies Safelogy SAS (Safelogy) and MLSA SAS (MLSA) retroactively to December 31, 2018. The Leipzig-based cash specialist has thus reached another milestone on its way to becoming the European market leader for software solutions in cash management. At the same time, the long-term oriented ALVARA investor Silver Investment Partners (SIP) underlines the already announced sustainable growth strategy.

Under the umbrella of CMH Group, the two companies Safelogy and MLSA strengthen the German cash logistics specialist ALVARA Cash Management Group AG (ALVARA), a portfolio company of SIP since October 2018.

“With ALVARA and SIP, we have gained strong partners with whom we can strengthen our market position in Europe. I look forward to jointly continuing the growth path of our companies,” said Emmanuel Gaucher, CEO of MLSA and Safelogy.

Emmanuel Gaucher continues to be responsible for the operative business as CEO of MLSA and Safelogy. In addition, he will lead CMH Group together with Bernd Hohlfeld, CEO and founder of ALVARA. In this function, he will be responsible for the strategic positioning of the Group. Cyril Portalez remains CTO of Safelogy and in this position continues to develop the company's innovative applications.

“With the support of our new French colleagues, we can further expand our product and service portfolio for our German and international customers," says Bernd Hohlfeld, member of the ALVARA Management Board and Managing Director of CMH Group. “The combination of our IT expertise and product competence allows us to bring innovative software solutions to market even faster. In particular, I see considerable synergy potential in the interaction between the ALVARA ICC solution and the French provider's safe monitoring system.“

MLSA was founded in 1986 in Bar le Duc (France) and specializes in back-office applications to optimize cash management processes. The company operates internationally with a focus on Europe and Africa and offers retailers, cash-in-transit companies, financial institutions and public transport companies tailor-made software solutions to capture, control and monitor their cash flows.

In 2015, Emmanuel Gaucher, CEO and owner of MLSA, and Cyril Portalez jointly founded the start-up Safelogy in Marseille (France) to better meet retailers’ needs for software solutions to automate the cash cycle. The company has developed the first universal cash automation platform allowing merchants to optimize cash management through a flexible multi-vendor, customizable and integrated solution. The platform is used daily by more than 5,000 retailers. The cloud-based software enables customers to efficiently capture and track cash balances and cash flows. This allows retailers to reduce cash processing costs by up to 50 percent.

As a group, ALVARA, MLSA and Safelogy are in a unique position to serve their customers across Europe. Together, the companies are represented in 15 European countries. By harmonizing standards, they create a uniform system landscape that makes it easier for customers to synchronize their cash management processes at the European level and thus realize efficiency gains.

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Time and cost savings: ALVARA connects ARCA back-office recycling system with ALVARA Interactive Cash Control (ICC)

ARCA back office solution with cash and coin recycling
includes the CM18b and CC3R can now be connected
to ALVARA ICC.

Numerous cash handling processes - from the supply and depositing of cash, to the ordering of change and cash accounting - can run much more efficiently in retail. Intelligently designed back-office solutions using automation help by digitizing and automating analog process steps.

Leipzig, February 13, 2019 - In January 2019, ALVARA connected another technology solution to ALVARA Interactive Cash Control (ICC) with the ARCA back office equipment, the CM18b cash recycler and CC3R coin recycler. Thanks to the new interface, users of the ARCA back-office system can now perform monitoring via ICC. This means that users are always informed about what, when and by whom cash and coin has been deposited or repaid. If required, they can also view the cassette available capacity. ICC is also able to automatically trigger change orders and disposal orders.

"With the creation of the new interface, ALVARA is once again underlining its manufacturer neutrality and independence," says Bernd Hohlfeld, member of the ALVARA Management Board. "Trading companies now have an even larger selection of suitable back-office machines, such as the ARCA solution, with which monitoring by means of ICC is possible".

If ARCA's machines are equipped with an Insys one-time code lock, code generation can be carried out even more securely and efficiently using the ALVARA Logistic App's one-time code generator. "If required, the ALVARA App can also support the process of supplying and disposing of the market from pickup at the store to arrival at the cash center and digitally document all transfers of liability," adds Hohlfeld.

The complete solution will be presented from 19 to 21 February 2019 at EuroCIS in Düsseldorf (Hall 10 / Stand D58).

ARCA is an international manufacturer of technologies for cash automation. The connection to the devices is a further milestone for ALVARA to further expand its presence on the European market.

Sales partner of the ARCA back office recycling system in Germany is NGZ Geldzählmaschinengesellschaft mbH & Co KG.

Silver Investment Partners acquires ALVARA Cash Management Group

  • Acquisition by long-term investor facilitates management succession for software specialist in cash management
  • ALVARA has attractive growth prospects as the only system provider of solutions for the entire cash cycle
  • Plans for investment in internationalization and further acquisitions

Königstein/Leipzig, October 01, 2018 - Silver Investment Partners (SIP) has acquired a majority shareholding in the privately-owned cash logistics specialist ALVARA Cash Management Group AG (ALVARA). The company is a leading provider of software solutions to all parties involved in the cash cycle to manage, automate and monitor cash management. With this transaction, ALVARA lays the foundation for the development of an orderly management succession plan. In addition to SIP, the second management level will also acquire a minority stake as part of the takeover. The former majority shareholder and founder of ALVARA, Bernd Hohlfeld, also retains a minority stake in the company and, in the medium term, will continue to be responsible for the operative business as a board member. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

“I am delighted that we have gained a strong and long-term partner in Silver Investment Partners, with whom we can develop an orderly management succession plan for ALVARA and at the same time pursue new growth opportunities”, says Bernd Hohlfeld, CEO and founder of ALVARA.“

ALVARA holds a unique market position. The company is the only provider in the cash cycle to offer software solutions for all stakeholders from a single source”, says Philipp Amereller, Managing Partner of SIP. "We will help ALVARA capitalize on this excellent base and further extend its leading market position.”

Exclusive product offering across the entire cash cycle

The predecessor company of ALVARA was founded in 1996 in Leipzig. Since then, the company has become a leading provider of custom IT solutions and related cash management services. With around 30 employees, the company provides software solutions for retailers, cash-in-transit companies and financial institutions, predominantly in the DACH region. As such, ALVARA serves all parties involved in payment transactions from a single source and has a diversified customer base. Retailers such as REWE and cash-in-transit companies such as SecurePost in Switzerland represent the largest customer groups.

The company's solutions enable customers to better control, automate and monitor the entire cash cycle: from the point-of-sale checkout counter to the cash-in-transit company and the responsible bank, right back to the ATM. Cloud-based software enables customers to efficiently capture and track cash balances and cash flows. The embedding of customer data in the ALVARA Cloud also simplifies the interaction between the individual players in the cash cycle. This increases the transparency, cost-efficiency and security of payments for the customers and the risk of fraud is minimized. Customers save on insurance premiums, can free up resources and optimize lead times.

Attractive growth prospects

ALVARA is the only German provider of completely integrated software solutions with know-how of the entire cash cycle as well as interfaces and data sources from the entire process. So far, many retailers, cash-in-transit companies and banks rely on resource-intensive proprietary solutions based on outdated technologies. This puts ALVARA in a unique position to meet the growing need for transparent, cost-effective and secure cash management IT solutions and to attract new customers.

“We see tremendous growth potential for ALVARA, both in expanding its customer base and expanding internationally”, says Philipp Amereller. The company has already created a basis for international growth through its product portfolio and existing customers. The ALVARA software is already being used by existing customers like REWE at locations outside the DACH region. Downstream players in the cash cycle of these countries often do not yet use the company's solutions. The scalability of the ALVARA software offers potential for more efficient management of the cash cycle and international expansion of the company. In addition, ALVARA is the first and only company to have a fully integrated and certified solution that interfaces with the Bundesbank's CashEDI system. This system will gradually be adopted by other central banks for more efficient cash management. This results in further international growth potential for ALVARA.  

Partnership development of the company

SIP will support ALVARA as an entrepreneurial partner in the further development through organic growth and selective acquisitions in the industry. The focus of SIP will be to offer sustainable support to its portfolio company, which will benefit from the know-how, network and long-term orientation of the investor.

Together with Bernd Hohlfeld and the strong second management level of ALVARA, SIP will continue the company’s growth strategy and sustainably expand its market coverage. The second management level will also participate in ALVARA as part of the transaction, which underlines their conviction in the opportunities and the long-term success of the company.

SIP was advised on the transaction by GCA Altium (M & A), Rödl & Partner (Financial), KWM Europe (Legal and Taxes) and TZ Consulting (IT). The sellers have mandated PWC (M & A and Legal) as advisors.

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Cash and digitalization – How can these go hand in hand?

With its ChangeExchange, ALVARA offers the key to cost reduction and client proximity in cash management

2017-12-06 – The German Trade Association HDE has been studying the topic of cost development for hard cash and the search for ways out of the price spiral. Ulrich Binnebößel, Head of HDE's Division of Payment Transactions and Logistics, presented the latest considerations on the expert conference "Digitalization Knows No Limits – Cash Processes 2.0" which took place in Leipzig in September. In his keynote speech titled "Payment in Retail", he focused on possible perspectives in cash development.

The proportion of turnover in cash has been declining for years and, so far, there are no signs that this trend will be reversed. A total 51.3 percent of payments are made in cash, 48.7 are cashless. Cash still clearly dominates at the point of sale in retail at 77.9 percent according to a study conducted by the EHI Retail Institute in 2016. Payments for small amounts of up to 20 euros represent the majority of all cash payments in store.

So far, only half of the retailers do not pay fees for the procurement of their coin rolls but the proportion is steadily growing because of the banks' cost pressure regarding cash. A total of 37 percent of retailers already pay more than 11 cents per roll or often fixed fees per year or coin dispensing at their respective bank. The average price per roll is 36.3 cents and strongly varies depending on the procurement source. Cash-in-transit companies tend to offer the lowest prices per roll but often only serve large-scale customers and the small boutique in the pedestrian zone. So, what to do if the costs for cash management continuously increase for retailers? At the end of his presentation, Ulrich Binnebößel called for, among other things, new forms of coin procurement for retailers so as to maintain the choice of the type of payment for costumers at the store.

In this context, he mentioned the first free online market place for coins developed by a Leipzig-based company. The innovative platform provided by the cash logistician ALVARA Cash Management Group AG can be used by any retailer irrespective of the cash-in-transit company to which they are contractually bound or their principal bank. This way, retailers can quickly eliminate any coin shortages and submit their orders from their mobile devices, by smartphone or iPad, as well. Adrian Knoch, owner of easyApotheke from Duderstadt, already uses the online service and concludes, "Now, we can flexibly order our coins online at any time. We have used the ChangeExchange a couple of times already and are very pleased with the experience." Banks have also recognized the benefits of digital coin procurement. Across the nation, the savings banks in Fürstenfeldbruck, Magdeburg, Eberswalde and Herford as well as various cash-in-transit companies use the ChangeExchange for their clients. In doing so, they offer a digital service which saves them a significant amount of costs and time in coin management.

Therefore, digitalization is one key to reducing costs and establishing more customer proximity in cash management. The next ALVARA INNOVATION DAYS on the topic of cash management are scheduled for September 2019 and will, of course, take place in Leipzig once again.

 

The future is digital!

Coinage is a product which breaks even at Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg

2017-12-14 – For many financial institutions, coins still mean great effort: retailers lining up at the bank, stressed staff at the counter, manual processes prone to error and high costs for processing coinage. All these challenges are a thing of the past at Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg.

Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg has steered cash money out of the red thanks to an innovative digital model. Corporate clients of Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg can now easily order their coins via the bank's website. Following an initial, free-of-charge registration, the clients log onto the online portal and simply place their orders. It also works from mobile devices such as smartphones. After prepayment, the clients receive information on the delivery status via e-mail. They can then pick up the coins at a branch of their choice or have them delivered to their stores by DHL.

The clients are satisfied. Waiting at the counter has become a thing of the past. Now, they receive their prepaid unopened packet of coins in a fast and uncomplicated manner. The Sparkasse staff no longer have to handle individual rolls at the counter or have discussions with the clients about the fees.

How does this work? Kirstin Kretschmer, Cash Manager of Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg, explains the process, "The retailers order the rolls in any denomination online via www.sparkasse-magdeburg.de/.... They transfer the sales price to the recipient's account specified in the online portal. Our cash-in-transit company, which is also digitally connected to the system, loads the coin packs and delivers them to one of our five branches. Of course, the order can also be delivered via DHL at an extra charge to be paid by the customer. If the online order is placed by 10:00 am on a bank business day and payment is received by 12:30 pm on the same day, the coin order is available for pick-up within two bank business days. The coinage is handed out to the customer upon presentation of the order confirmation and an identification document. The order may also be picked up by a representative in possession of the order confirmation and written authorization by the purchaser. This way, the representatives of a retail chain can obtain the package reserved for them as well." About 80 percent of the clients pick up their coins directly at the branch. Commercial customers in more remote locations tend to prefer the DHL service.The ordering of coins has not only become significantly easier for the clients but also for Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg which has automated the consistent fee income.

A clear description of the processes at Stadtsparkasse and the collaboration with ALVARA Cash Management Group AG from Leipzig represent the technological backbone of this solution. The team around company chairman Bernd Hohlfeld developed the innovative ALVARA ChangeExchange platform, which brings together those offering coins and those looking for them in an online platform – easy to use and available around the clock, even outside the opening hours of the bank. Banks, service providers and retail companies were presented with a sustainable perspective for the cash cycle and therefore an alternative for an efficient, cost-effective coin supply. Thanks to the ALVARA ChangeExchange, which was tailored to the strategy of Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg, 100 percent of the costs are covered. The savings bank can determine its scope of services offered through the ChangeExchange as well as the respective prices. The pressure on the counter staff has been reduced by the introduction of standardized processes. Kirstin Kretschmer concludes, "The collaboration with the ALVARA team significantly advanced our efforts to digitalize cash management. Initial customer feedback has confirmed that we are on the right track."

As a result, the digitalization of processes became an important step towards reducing costs and providing more customer service in coin processing. This development benefits all stakeholders, from the consumers at the store, who still mainly pay cash, to the bank. Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg broadened its horizon and mastered the balancing act between customer satisfaction and cost reduction by optimizing and simplifying processes as well as integrating an innovative digital solution.

Successful duo in cash management: ALVARA Logistics App and KÖTTER Security Cloud rolled out

High-tech tracking and tracing at KÖTTER Geld- & Wertdienste

2017-12-20 – A joint solution to track and trace the entire cash cycle in real time which was developed by KÖTTER Geld- & Wertdienste SE & Co. KG in collaboration with ALVARA Cash Management Group AG is already in use at three locations of the cash-in-transit company. The Android-based tour scanner technology has been introduced at the Duisburg branch as well as the cash centers in Dortmund and Cologne, generating added value for all stakeholders in the cash cycle.

For the first time ever, data, such as the number of secure cash bags, collection time, driver ID and digital receipts, is transmitted to the KÖTTER Security Cloud in an audit-proof manner and in real time and can be accessed for further processing or evaluation while the cash is still in transit. This results in quicker and easier access to all tracking and tracing data for the accounting and auditing departments while cash centers save time and costs due to the centralized administration and efficient device management. Internal and external reporting is also significantly simplified as a result.

Security and availability throughout a transparent cash cycle are a top priority. The fail-safe KÖTTER Security Cloud in which all data is centrally stored, is accessed using encrypted connections and prevents data loss even if the scanner is out of order or lost.

Frederik Nitschke, Head of Operations, Finance and Risk Management is very optimistic about the continuing colloaboration with ALVARA, stating,  "We have found an incredibly creative and flexible partner in Bernd Hohlfeld's team on our way to innovation. We are already planning the next projects."

Additionally, the solution, which was nominated for the Security Innovation Award 2016 by a panel of expert judges, will be installed at the cash center in Bremen as well as the Paderborn and Aachen branches.