NAVTEQ to acquire German traffic info supplier T-Traffic

Acquisition starting a round of concentration in the traffic information business in Europe

NAVTEQ to acquire German traffic info supplier T-Traffic
Digital map provider NAVTEQ announced today it will acquire T-Systems Traffic GmbH (T-Traffic), for an undisclosed amount. T-Traffic has been a leading provider of traffic services in Germany - with its “TMCPro” offering - since 2004. The company has approximately 55 employees and customers such as BMW, Nissan, Subaru, Renault, Medion, Alpine, Kenwood, Clarion and TomTom.

"This acquisition supports our efforts to bring best-in-class traffic to Europe and expand our traffic processing capabilities worldwide," commented John MacLeod, executive vice president, NAVTEQ Connected Services. "T-Traffic has an expertise in the extraction and processing of probe and community-sourced traffic data that will be integrated into NAVTEQ's global traffic processing system. It also has traffic information that will play a critical and immediate role in expanding NAVTEQ's traffic offerings in Europe."

This acquisition is a first - but significant - pace into the consolidation of traffic information companies across Europe. It is likely that NAVTEQ will not stop after only one acquisition. The Nokia subsidiary is currently working on a project with Telefonica in Spain, but covering major countries such as United Kingdom or France will be key for NAVTEQ. Indeed, Dutch competitor TomTom-Tele Atlas is launching this month its HD traffic solution in Great Britain, Germany, France and Switzerland; Netherlands was already covered and Belgium will be very soon.

Next step: United Kingdom?
Likely acquisition candidates for NAVTEQ could be for example one of the two providers of traffic information in the United Kingdom: ITIS Holding and Trafficmaster which are both listed on the London Stock Exchange and under valuated like many other companies these days. ITIS Holding current market capitalization is £13.08 million while its revenue in the year closing 31 March 2008 was £18.32m with profit before taxation of £4.79m. Trafficmaster’s market capitalization is £15.71 million while its 2007 revenue was £48,4 million and operating profit £5,4 million.

NAVTEQ is already working with Trafficmaster. One of Trafficmaster’s subsidiary delivers floating car data from 65,000 vehicles in the United States and in the United Kingdom they are working together on a database of real road speeds (called traffic patterns by NAVTEQ).

In a recent interview with Serge Bussat, head of NAVTEQ in Europe, he stated about launching traffic information services in Europe: “we have many options: acquisitions, partnerships, or using our North American know-how or even a combination of everything.” It seems the acquisition path could be a preferred way. In one hand it would very well fit with NAVTEQ’s culture which tends to have a tight control over its products. In the other hand it would speed up the launch of a pan-European solution.

Thursday, November 20th 2008

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