"Societe Generale believed in our project from the start"

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Created less than 20 years ago in Casablanca, HPS has become a global leader in payment solutions. Societe Generale Morocco has supported it from the very beginning as both its first bank and its first client.

Gartner spotted HPS and for the last few years has ranked it among the top six card management solution providers worldwide. For a technology company to receive such a distinction from this world-renowned US research firm is recognition in itself. HPS has received other acknowledgement. Created in 1995, this Moroccan group specialising in the development of multichannel electronic payment solutions has made a global name for itself in a field dominated by much larger French and American competitors. It is present in more than 70 countries, with platforms in Casablanca, Dubai and France. Exports account for 87% of its € 25 million in sales. Rather than cards or equipment, it provides software along with installation and training services to go with it. HPS data processing is what enables card payments for its 320 clients, which include financial institutions, banks, telecom operators, postal services, government agencies and more. Its flagship product, PowerCARD, is an all-in-one software package with different modules that cover the entire payment value chain. "In 20 years, our sales have grown 300 times over", says Mohamed Horani, the Group's President and founder, who has been President of Morocco's Confédération Générale des Entreprises (business roundtable) and says he discovered his calling as a businessman at age 11 in his father's bakery.

A relationship based on mutual trust

Societe Generale's Moroccan subsidiary is HPS's bank, as well as its first client. "The hardest thing for any new company is landing its first big account, the client with the courage to trust a start-up. Societe Generale believed in our project and did not require any other guarantees from us", recalls Mohamed Horani. This relationship based on mutual trust has continued throughout HPS's history. Created when electronic payment was in its infancy, the company anticipated all the technological developments, which is necessary for surviving in a market where digital transformations and new regulations must be handled quickly. While cash transactions are constantly declining, bank card payments are diversifying to accommodate e-commerce, which is experiencing double-digit growth, the even faster-growing sector of m-commerce, new contactless payment methods, money transfers and more. To stay in the race to achieve critical mass in this booming market, HPS spends a sizeable share of its revenue on R&D and has signed many technological partnerships with HP, IBM, Oracle and American Express. "Societe Generale has continued to work with us and has tailored its solutions to our needs in accordance with our development," says Mohamed Horani. For instance, the bank worked with HPS for its IPO on the Casablanca Stock Exchange in 2006, as a member of a syndicate of underwriters tasked with selling securities to investors. HPS took 30% of its shares public and achieved a memorable success, with demand 29 times higher than supply. When the Moroccan company acquired ACP Qualife of France in 2010, Societe Generale Maroc granted it a medium- term loan covering 50% of the transaction. This acquisition enabled HPS to benefit from ACP Qualife's expertise and its presence in the French market, as well as from its product, Vision, software for end users that allows them to view their current transactions. Societe Generale Maroc also accompanies HPS in its day-to-day business through operational financing suited to its needs and its order book: bid bonds, overdraft facilities and more.

Loan offers for employees

The bank has also offered HPS solutions that contribute to employee loyalty. Electronic payment is a very specific kind of business and to train its "e-money engineers", HPS had to found an "HPS Academy". Motivating its highly specialised employees is part of its strategy. "We have set up an agreement for HPS employees, who can thereby take advantage of discount rates on consumer loan and mortgage loan products," explains Adil Bajjou, Head of the Large Corporates division
at Societe Generale Maroc. "The bank can offer these rates because they come with less risk: we know how reliable the company and its employees are." HPS is also a client of other Societe Generale entities such as Sogelease, the Group's leasing subsidiary, and ALD Automotive, which manages its automobile fleet. In 2013 HPS, Societe Generale Maroc and Eqdom (the consumer credit subsidiary of the Societe Generale Maroc group) turned a new page in their relationship by jointly developing Mobiflouss, the first mobile solution that provides next-day loans with cash withdrawals of up to € 3,000 directly from an ATM at a Societe Generale Maroc branch.

Interview from the Activity and sustainable development report 2013/2014