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Fingerprint Cards sales soar on biometric demand from China

[STOCKHOLM] Fingerprint Cards AB, the Swedish maker of biometric technology whose stock rose 1,600 per cent last year, reported a 12-fold surge in fourth-quarter sales fueled by demand from mobile-phone makers in China.

Revenue in the three months ending Dec. 31 jumped to 1.35 billion kronor (US$160 million) from 105 million kronor a year earlier, while Fingerprint's gross margin increased to 46 per cent from 32 per cent, it said in a statement Thursday. Analysts predicted revenue of 1.32 billion kronor with a margin of 45.6 per cent, based on two estimates compiled by Bloomberg. 

The manufacturer raised the lower end of its revenue outlook for this year and now expects sales of 7 billion kronor to 8.5 billion kronor. Its board is proposing a 5-to-1 stock split and a share buyback mandate at its next shareholder meeting.

Fingerprint jumped 6.1 per cent to 471.40 kronor, giving the company a market value of 28 billion kronor. Before today, the stock had sunk 34 per cent from the record set Dec 4.

The Gothenburg-based company has benefited as makers of mobile phones increasingly adopt its technology enabling users to access smartphones and devices with the tap of a finger. Fingerprint said it's established a market-leading position in China, where it expects continued growth, partly driven by the demand in secure mobile payments.