Biometrics stocks wrap: Fingerprint Cards, SmartMetric, Idex, Mitek, big first year for Cerence

Biometrics stocks wrap: Fingerprint Cards, SmartMetric, Idex, Mitek, big first year for Cerence

Fingerprint Cards has provided an update into the progress toward the mass commercialization of biometric payment cards, saying staggering progress has been made in only a year.

There are currently 20 pilots of contactless biometric payment cards around the world using FPC technology in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Japan, and the first volume order for fingerprint sensors for dual-interface payment cards. The year was then capped off with the first commercial launch of biometric payment cards for the Cornercard Biometric Gold in Switzerland.

Enrollment is the most important thing to get right in the process, 83 percent of banks surveyed by Fingerprint Cards say, and the company unveiled its ‘out of the box’ enrollment solution early in the year.

The strong customer authentication (SCA) requirements of PSD2 are expected to drive adoption going forward, and 88 percent of banks tell FPC that contactless payments are their main priority in the area over the coming years. The largest concern for banks is raising the contactless payment cap, but security is considered a barrier by 38 percent of consumers.

Credit Agricole has stated its intention to scale up to a commercial launch in 2020, and FPC says that all POS terminals will be contactless during the year (in most regions), further driving the market.

The final, fundamental step toward commercialization is standardization and certification, which Fingerprint Cards is working on.

Card battery life upgraded to 9 years by SmartMetric

SmartMetric has announced that its biometric credit and debit cards, which power on with an integrated battery when the fingerprint sensor is touched, can now last over nine years. The thin battery is recharged by harvesting power from contact and contactless card readers.

The company says it has also made advancements in its technology for contactless NFC use.

“This means the card can stay unused by a user for a long time and when they go to use the card it will power up immediately; the user simply touches the card’s sensor,” says SmartMetric President and CEO Chaya Hendrick.

The technology is expected to be released in early 2020, with the operating system and payment chip of a major global supplier of payment card chips. The solution provider has already issued 1.4 billion cards, and will offer SmartMetric’s power technology to its 500 bank customers, according to the announcement.

Idex Biometrics private share placement approved

The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet) has approved a listing prospectus for 64,574,593 new shares of Idex Biometrics on the Oslo Børs, the company announced.

Idex announced private placements in November and earlier in December. Between them, the two tranches represent approximately 11 percent of the outstanding capital, according to the prospectus.

In the first nine months of fiscal 2019, Idex recorded NOK 1,324,000 (roughly US$148,000), up from NOK 82,000 ($9,000) in the first three quarters a year ago. Net loss per diluted share was even in the period at 0.11.

Mitek launches share repurchase program

Mitek has announced a $10 million share repurchase program, which will last until December 16, 2020, which it intends to fund with cash on hand. While the company is not committed to carry out the purchases, the decision seems to reflect confidence in the market position of its mobile capture and digital identity verification products.

The share repurchase program is in operation effective immediately, and authorizes purchases in the open market through block trades, 10b5-1 trading plans, privately negotiated transactions, and other allowable methods. The timing of purchases and number of sales involved are dependent on share price, market conditions, and regulatory requirements.

Cerence announces $300M in revenue in first year

Cerence has reported GAAP revenues of $83 million in Q4 2019, based on the ASC606 accounting standard, and $303.3 million for the full year.

According to the ASC605 standard the company previously used, its 2019 GAAP revenue was $306.6 million, up from $277 million in full-year 2018.

Cerence was spun out of Nuance Communications earlier this year.

Adjusted EBITDA $28.9 million (ASC606) for the quarter and $99.5 million for the year, and GAAP operating margin was 5.6 percent in Q4, and 3.6 percent for full-year 2019. The company has also reaffirmed its 2020 guidance of GAAP revenues between $321 million and $336 million.

“Cerence is off to a fast start. The fourth quarter results reflect the strong business momentum we see in the market. A continued focus on innovation to maintain our leadership position in voice-enabled AI is yielding very positive results for Cerence’s future. Our success rate for new design wins in the quarter and fiscal year remain at a very high level. These wins represent the foundation for our continued success and revenue growth in the future,” says Cerence CEO Sanjay Dhawan.

“The expected growth in connected services is being realized through increasing levels of activity and consumer adoption. We continue to expand our product offerings in edge and connected services and see them as fuel for our continued growth at a level significantly higher than the seasonally adjusted annual rate of automobile shipments.”

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