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Earnings rise and costs fall for Idex Biometrics and Zwipe in run-up to fingerprint card commercialization

Earnings rise and costs fall for Idex Biometrics and Zwipe in run-up to fingerprint card commercialization

Idex Biometrics has reported fourth quarter revenues of $598,000 as income begins to roll in from its work on biometric smartcards.

The company recorded only $71,000 in earnings in Q4 2019. Similarly, full-year product revenues jumped from a mere $159,000 last year to $1 million in 2020, for total revenues of $1.1 million. Gross margins were 70 percent for the quarter and 75 percent for the year. Idex’ adjusted operating expenses also declined from $26.3 million in the last fiscal year to $21.4 million.

Accordingly, Idex’ net loss was reduced to $26.8 million, from $32.4 million in 2019.

The company also noted its stock will be traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol ‘IDBA’ on March 1.

“During 2020 we made good progress transitioning from pure product development to commercial activities and ramping of deliveries,” comments Idex Biometrics CEO Vince Graziani. “Throughout the year we achieved several certifications by multiple major payment networks. Several new card manufacturers have initiated new product developments based on IDEX’s biometric technologies. In addition to ramping commercial production shipments for a large IT and financial services customer, we successfully secured the first commercial orders and began shipment of our next-generation TrustedBio solution for biometric payment cards.”

“Entering the new year, the Postal Savings Bank of China announced the first trial of a fingerprint biometric card hardware-wallet as part of China’s digital renminbi (RMB) initiative,” Graziani adds. “This initiative represents a new high-volume application for fingerprint biometrics.  We expect 2021 will see broader use of our technology for these new digital currency applications globally, and increasing orders and shipments to a broader range of traditional customers, banks and credit issuers.”

Direct customer engagements by Idex with tier 1 card companies now represent a share in the global payment card market of more than 40 percent, the company says.

Idex also announced the registration of its capital increase from a private placement of approximately 83.2 million shares earlier in February. Total share capital for Idex is now NOK 137.3 million (US$16.4 million), divided into 915,361,422 shares with a par value of NOK 0.15 ($0.018) each.

Zwipe slashes cost and prepares for mass volumes

Zwipe revenues grew to NOK 1.8 million (roughly US$214,000) in 2020, up from NOK 1.5 million ($178,400) in 2019, as the company formed partnerships around the world to bring biometric payment cards to market.

Operating expenses fell by 38 percent to NOK 63.7 million ($7.6 million) from NOK 96.8 million ($11.5 million) a year earlier, and EBITDA improved from a loss of NOK 92 million ($10.9 million) in 2019 to a loss of NOK 59.9 million ($7.1 million) in fiscal 2020.

Earnings per share improved from negative NOK 5.98 ($0.71) to negative NOK 1.89 ($0.22), however the Board has proposed that the company not pay a dividend for 2020.

CEO André Løvestam called it “a landmark year for Zwipe,” citing its positioning for future growth through customer and partner engagements, technology innovations and new hires.

“The next steps, in addition to full completion of our internal development, are to prepare our smart card manufacturers and issuers for pilots, certification and volume production, after which fully certified biometric payment cards will be available from our customers to issuers for full commercial launch,” says Løvestam.

“We experienced an unprecedented acceleration in our engagements with issuers and card manufacturers throughout 2020,” Løvestam adds. “We are engaging with more than 250 banks and over 40 of the world’s top 50 smart card manufacturers and our pipeline in both these segments has never been stronger. We are confident that our strategic partnerships, global technology excellence, focused engagements with issuers, as well as our end-to-end trusted advisor approach and unique one-stop-shop offering, are laying the foundation for many commercial wins ahead.”

Zwipe and Idex are working together with Idemia on biometric cards utilizing the Zwipe Pay ONE platform.

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