WEX Inc. has moved one step closer to acquiring a majority stake in ExxonMobil’s European commercial “Esso Card” fuel card program, the latest in its ongoing efforts to expand the company’s international presence.

The South Portland payment-processing company said Thursday that it had agreed to buy a controlling share in the Esso Card program for $60 million. The proposed deal, first announced in November, would give WEX a 75 percent ownership stake in the business.

The company also said Thursday that it had cleared all regulatory hurdles to complete the purchase.

The transaction, expected to add $35 million to the company’s annual revenue, is expected to close in late 2014 or early 2015, according to a WEX news release.

The proposed deal includes operations, funding, pricing, sales and marketing in nine European countries. WEX also will purchase all of the company’s accounts receivables, which at the anticipated closing date would have an estimated value of $230 million to $250 million.

The Esso Card purchase would be the latest in a series of acquisitions the company has made in an effort to diversify its business and gain a foothold in overseas markets.

On Tuesday, Wex said that it had signed an agreement with Shell Oil Inc. to process prepaid fuel card transactions for the petroleum giant’s commercial fleet operations in Europe and Asia.

On Wednesday, Wex said it had completed the acquisition of Evolution1, a cloud-based technology and payment solutions firm in the health care industry. The $532.5 million deal was WEX’s largest purchase to date.

In 2012, it purchased fuel card company Fleet One from a group of private-equity firms. Other recent deals include buying 51 percent of UNIK SA, a Brazilian provider of payroll cards, for about $21.9 million, and acquiring CorporatePay, a London-based provider of corporate prepaid cards for the travel industry, for about $27.5 million in cash.

“The purchase of the Esso Card portfolio remains an important element to building our on-the-ground presence in the European market and enhances WEX’s long-term growth profile,” WEX President and CEO Melissa Smith said in a statement. “Our efforts to advance this transaction remain on track and position us to create a substantial and profitable European footprint.”

WEX employs roughly 700 people in Maine.

WEX is a publicly held company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WEX.

In trading Tuesday, its share price dipped $2.47, or 2.31 percent, to close at $104.42.

Jennifer Van Allen can be contacted at 791-6313 or at:

jvanallen@pressherald.com

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