Biometrics stocks news: NEC and Zwipe gain, acquisitions, and a resilient scam

Biometrics stocks news: NEC and Zwipe gain, acquisitions, and a resilient scam

First-half revenue for NEC was up 8.4 percent on a year-over-year basis to 1.449 billion yen (US$13.3 billion) on increased global sales, amid slow economic growth in Europe and China due to trade friction and steady domestic Japanese demand, the company has announced. The increased revenues drove a 33 billion-yen ($300 million) gain in operating profit to 46.9 billion yen ($430 million).

In the quarter ending September 30 the company recorded a slight improvement in its public segment of 4.4 percent, and more robust increases in its enterprise (11.8 percent), network services (11 percent), system platform (16.7 percent) and global (23.3 percent) segments. Revenues for the “others” segment, the smallest part of NEC, declined by 36.3 percent.

The results presentation counts NEC’s NIST FRVT results, its work on biometric ATMs with Seven Bank, and an unmanned store trial with convenience store chain Lawson, its work with the World Food Programme and partnership for vaccine delivery as key biometrics initiatives for its mid-term management plan.

NEC Asia Pacific is showcasing its digital finance solutions, including cloud-based facial authentication solution with liveness detection, at the SFF X Switch event in Singapore from November 11 to 15. In addition to its Biometric Digital Identity Service (BDIS), the company will exhibit its banking as a service offering from Banqsoft A/S, which is owned by NEC subsidiary KMD A/S.

Zwipe results surpass expectations

Zwipe has reported third quarter revenues of NOK 1 million ($110,000) for its biometric payment card inlays and wearables project. The company’s average monthly cashflow remains negative NOK 7.6 million ($830,000), but has been reduced from a monthly negative cashflow of NOK 8.9 million ($970,000) in the first half of 2019.

Highlights in the quarter for the company include a major agreement with Idemia on a biometric payment card platform and an agreement to develop wearable payment devices jointly with G+D Mobile Security. The company is also touting its ‘Zwipe Experience’ as an industry benchmark for a facilitated go-to-market program.

Zwipe CEO André Løvestam says the Q3 results exceeded the company’s expectations, and that it is happy with the milestones achieved in the past few months.

“With good momentum in these two emerging product verticals (payment cards and wearables), we are confident that our focus on building relationships with our customers will play a major role in securing both short- and long-term success for the company,” Løvestam says. “The new relationships diversify our customer base and extend our geographical presence, securing ties with regional leading card manufacturers and banks. Industry leaders in the biometric payment industry such as Idemia and G&D are firming up their roles, setting up commercial structures and investing in trial and production capacity. The fact that they select Zwipe as a key partner for their endeavors is a testament to our strong role in the value-chain.”

Idemia, BIO-key and Idex announce financial results dates

Idemia has announced its presentation of Q3 results to investors for November 6, with President and CEO Yann Delabrière and CFO Laurent Lemaire speaking and taking questions. Third quarter results for BIO-key will be reported on November 14, with a conference call reviewing the company’s quarter and outlook hosted by Chairman and CEO Mike DePasquale, CFO Cecilia Welch, and Chief Revenue Officer Fred Corsentino on November 15. Idex Biometrics will release its Q3 2019 results on November 13, with a conference call held by CEO Stan Swearingen and CFO Derek D’Antilio.

Big name acquisitions

Following a period of industry consolidation that featured several biometric sensor and scanner manufacturers and service providers acquired, a couple of large but very different companies operating in the biometric space have been snapped up by larger companies.

Anixter, a global distributor of biometric systems among its network and security products, has reached a sale agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

The funds managed by CD&R will acquire all outstanding Anixter shares for $81 each, a premium of approximately 13 percent over its closing price the day before the sale was announced, and 27 percent over its 90-day volume-weighted average. The company will continue to be operated by its current executive management team.

Google is moving aggressively into wearables with the acquisition of Fitbit, sensing an opportunity to invest in its Wear OS and introduce Made by Google devices to the market, according to a company blog post.

Senior Vice President of Devices and Services Rick Osterloh says in the blog post that the company’s goals are closely aligned with Fitbit’s mission to support wellness and healthy, active lives, but that doing so requires effective privacy and security. Google is pledging to treat people’s wearable data transparently, and not to use it for Google ads.

Hawk somehow still circling

Despite a judgement by a Financial Crimes expert in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office following an extensive investigation that Hawk Systems in an “organized scheme to defraud” investors rather than the legitimate biometrics company it claims to be, the company is still publicly traded, sometimes at large volumes.

Now, with more than a million shares in the alleged scheme traded in the past two weeks, the Lerman Law Firm, which called out the scheme and has been seeking whistleblowers, has called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to take action.

The company has publicly declared losses of $22 million and sales of just under $6,000. It has several affiliated businesses operating in the U.S. and Canada.

“How and why is this fake company with no product currently trading millions of shares?” asks Cathy Lerman of the Lerman Law Firm. “Regulators are asleep at the wheel. Investors have already lost millions in this scam and there will be many more victims to come if the SEC doesn’t take immediate action to halt trading and get to the bottom of what is going on.”

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