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Wright Express Makes Large Investment In Future

SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE – Wright Express is investing more than $35 million to upgrade its technology and systems, a move that will transform the company's operations and allow it to improve service, develop new products and penetrate international markets. Wright Express, the leader in the fleet card industry, will phase in most of the new systems during 2002 and 2003.

"At the heart of this company is a desire to innovate and serve our customers by understanding what they need and delivering it through superior products and service," said Michael Dubyak, president and chief executive officer of Wright Express. "The substantial investment – the largest in company history – that we are making in technology and systems will keep us at the industry forefront, allow us to better analyze data both internally and externally and place us in a superior position to continue or proud growth strategy.

"The technology investment also represents an investment in Maine, a state where the company employs more than 560 people. Wright Express is preparing to officially open a new campus this spring, strengthening its commitment to the state. At the heart of the technology transformation taking place at Wright Express is an initiative called e.BEST (Building Enhanced Systems and Technology), which will establish a platform critical for future growth and also fundamentally change how employees work at every level.

The e.BEST initiative kicked off in December 1999 under the direction of Jack Spradley, an experienced systems engineer hired to rebuild the company's aging technology. Instead of fixing it, he recommended building something completely new.

Following two years of planning and development, Wright Express – guided by the 56-person e.BEST team – began to implement the first phase of e.BEST this spring. Wright Express will continue to phase in the new system into 2004, although the bulk of the project will be completed next year.

"We have rewritten the technology and redesigned the systems from the floor up," Spradley said. "It is a dramatic change for everyone, but this will make us even more competitive by creating an infrastructure that is flexible, able to handle customization and it will allow us to say to our major clients, ‘we can go anywhere you want to go.

"For example, the new system will reduce the number of company databases from hundreds to less than a dozen, thus streamlining and integrating operations and helping improve data accuracy. The company will also be able to process 300 million transactions per year – compared to about 200 million now – and easily expand that capacity if necessary. Furthermore, e.BEST gives the company a platform from which to consider new products such as smart cards and stored-value cards as well as radio and infrared technology.

At the same time, the company continues to invest in its industry-leading internet product, WEXOnline. This online management tool gives fleet managers unmatched power to manage their accounts from their desktops, allowing them to analyze data, view real-time transactions and make account changes. WEXOnline will become even more powerful as e.BEST is implemented. All these improvements represent a major change from the company's start in 1983, when its fuel card was accepted at three Portland fueling stations.

South Portland-based Wright Express is the nation's leading provider of fleet charge cards to businesses and government agencies. It also provides information management, payment processing, and financial services to fleets through card relationships. Through its fleet card programs, its universal card program and a MasterCard program, Wright Express has more than 3.8 million commercial cards in its markets. Wright Express LLC, a subsidiary of Cendant Corp., employs more than 625 people at its headquarters in South Portland, Maine and its subsidiary in Salt Lake City.

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