April 17, 2019, 4:21 p.m. EDT

Russian Federation : Sberbank, Gazprombank and Digital Horizon create a leader in biometrics

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Apr 17, 2019 (Euclid Infotech Ltd via COMTEX) -- Sberbank, Gazprombank and Digital Horizon announce the signing of a deal under which Sberbank has acquired a 51% stake in Speech Technology Center from Gazprombank. Venture company Digital Horizon has also acquired a stake in STC. Gazprombank remains a strategic shareholder of STC and will continue to play an active role in the future development of the company. The deal is scheduled to close by late May 2019.

The shareholders will create a new board of directors at the company, which will consist of four Sberbank representatives including the chairman of the board and two representatives from Gazprombank and one from Digital Horizon.

STC is a leading Russian developer of biometric technology. The deal will give STC access to the resources and competencies of two of Russias largest financial organisations, including in the field of artificial intelligence and big data. In addition, the expertise of Digital Horizons international team will provide STC with additional competitive advantages on the global market, which is expected to be worth around $40 bln by 2022.

Stanislav Kuznetsov, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank:

For Sberbank, this deal is a logical step on the road to digital transformation and the construction of a biometric platform for the Banks growing ecosystem. In the future we will use this platform to create a range of services that will take interaction with clients to a completely new level in terms of comfort and information security. In turn, Sberbanks AI and big data expertise and experience will help STC broaden the use of speech technology in Russia, offer Russian technology to foreign markets and compete for global leadership.

Dmitry Zauers, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Gazprombank:

Gazprombank Group has successful experience of investing in promising hi-tech companies. This can be seen in our long-term partnership with STC. We intend to maintain our strategic focus on developing this area as part of the Groups work to deploy cutting-edge biometric solutions for the Banks everyday operations in the interests of our many retail and corporate clients.

Dmitry Dyrmovksy, CEO of Speech Technology Center Group:

STC is gaining another serious partner. The synergy with Sberbank will significantly boost the development of our companys technologies and products. We are receiving access to the expertise and competencies of one of the worlds largest retail banks. STC is already a key player on the biometrics market, but with such a team behind us we plan to become a global leader in the next few years.

Alan Vaksman, co-founder of Digital Horizon:

This is a historic deal, not only for the development of biometrics, but also for the Russian venture industry. Thanks to the long-term vision of Gazprombank, which saw potential in STC more than a decade ago, Sberbank the leader of the Russian digital economy is building a biometric platform that is unique by world standards. As an investor in STC we will continue our work on positioning the company on the international market and growing its shareholder value.

STC is a leading developer of voice and facial biometric systems and solutions in the field of professional data processing and machine learning, and is well positioned to become a leading international player in this area. The companys products are sold in more than 75 countries. In Russia, STCs technology is used by a large number of major corporations, including Sberbank, Gazprombank, VTB, Vimpelcom, Rostelecom, and Russian Railways.

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