Precise Biometrics reports sales drop in tough capacitive sensor market

Competition in the capacitive sensor market caused a drop in sales for Precise Biometrics in Q3 2017, resulting in an operating loss, the company said as it reported its quarterly financial results.

Net sales declined 56 percent year-over-year to approximately SEK 10.1 M, and the company’s operating margin fell 64 percent to a loss of SEK 6.5 M.

Precise Biometrics CEO Håkan Persson said that a small number of companies with competitive advantages from early market entry dominate the market for fingerprint sensors in mobile phones, which has limited the company and its customers to fewer projects win and lower volumes.

“We are, however, seeing a technology shift from capacitive sensors to new sensor technologies based on, among other things, demands from mobile manufacturers for full-screen displays,” Persson says “This means that interest in ultrasound and optical sensors has increased, which opens up new opportunities for us and our customers who have these new sensor technologies. At the moment we are involved in a number of such projects, and I believe that the first product launches will be starting in the first half of 2018.”

The company is responding to the market developments by working on projects involving ultrasound and optical sensors and biometric payment cards, according to the announcement. A licensing agreement signed with module company O-Film during the quarter, and another with an Asian display manufacturer developing fingerprint recognition integrated into smartphone displays indicate Precise Biometric’s path forward. Persson said that he expects launches of the new products will begin in the first half of 2018.

Other deals struck in the quarter, including the integration of Precise Biometrics software in the AirPlus contactless payment card, brings the company’s number of licensing agreements to 30, and almost half of these customers have licensing agreements for both Precise BioMatch Mobile and Precise BioMatch Embedded. The potential of these partnerships and the company’s cash position are causes for optimism, according to Persson.

Precise Biometrics also reiterated its previously reported revised estimate of revenues for the full year.

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