Wright Express Corp. continues to expand its global presence, acquiring a 51% interest in Unik SA, a privately held provider of payroll cards in Brazil, for approximately R$44.7 million (US$21.9 million).

The agreement also includes the potential to acquire the remaining shares over a three-year period, the South Portland, Maine-based issuer and processor of fleet and other prepaid cards announced Aug. 31.

Unik also supports private-label card and processing services in Brazil, specializing in the retail, government and transportation sectors. It has some 8,000 corporate clients with 4 million cards, which cardholders may use for purchases through its proprietary network of approximately 30,000 commercial establishments.

"Through this transaction, we further expand our global footprint with our entrance into the Brazilian market with Unik," Michael Dubyak, Wright Express chairman and CEO, said in a press release.

Besides operations in its core U.S. market, Wright Express' fleet, corporate and prepaid payment units include Wright Express Prepaid Cards Australia, Wright Express Fuel Cards Australia and CorporatePay Ltd. in England. Wright Express and its subsidiaries employ more than 900 workers in six countries.

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