Wright Express makes $27.5M U.K. acquisition

South Portland-based Wright Express Corp. said Friday that it has acquired CorporatePay, a United Kingdom company that provides corporate prepaid services to the travel industry, for about $27.5 million in an all-cash transaction.

According to a May 11 release, CorporatePay is the largest such company in the U.K.

“CorporatePay’s rapidly expanding product offering of business-to-business prepaid solutions, strong management team and solid base of operations is a natural fit with Wright Express. This transaction is strategically important for us for several reasons. First, it accelerates our on the ground presence within the U.K. and Europe, markets in which we see significant opportunities. Second, it supplements our existing product offering to now include prepaid single use accounts, or virtual cards,” said Michael Dubyak, chairman and CEO of Wright Express. “With the European marketplace embracing virtual cards, the combination of debit and credit payment solutions enhances our competitive position in key segments of the travel industry and increases the size of our addressable market in terms of customer and geography.

Last week, Wright Express reported profits of $23.2 million in the first quarter, almost double the $12.1 million in the same period a year ago. The first quarter profits were on revenues of $140.1 million, a 17 percent increase from the first quarter of 2011.

Wright Express has more than 850 employees in six countries. Wright trades under the symbol WXS on the New York Stock Exchange.

In recent years, it has made a number of acquisitions to grow its business beyond fleet services, expanding into the payday card, corporate travel and consumer travel payment processing markets.