Paris-based smart-card and secured transaction product manufacturer, Ingenico S.A’s announcement on April 6 that it would acquire Atlanta-based IVI Checkmate, an electronic payment solutions provider, prompted French Consul-General Jean-Paul Monchau to comment last week on the increasing numbers of French high-tech companies looking to Atlanta as a center for technological development and expansion.

During a meeting of the French-American Chamber of Commerce held in midtown, Mr. Monchau also pointed to French companies like Cap Gemini, a technology services and consulting firm, which merged with Ernst & Young, a consulting and accounting firm, last year, and French-based Business Objects, a leading e-business solutions provider, which set up an Atlanta office in August 2000, as examples of the trend.

The most recent development, Mr. Monchau added, is Paris-based Alcatel’s interest in buying a Lucent Technologies fiber optics unit in Norcross, a deal that would bring an estimated $4-$8 billion to financially-troubled Lucent.

“I have not seen such interest by high-tech French companies in Atlanta before,” said Mr. Monchau.  “But it doesn’t surprise me that it’s happening in view of Atlanta’s increasing importance as a high-tech center.”

For information on French companies in the Atlanta area, contact the French Trade Commission at (404) 522-4843.