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Idex Biometrics appoints new CFO as FPC, ImageWare report earnings

OneSpan conflict continues
Idex Biometrics appoints new CFO as FPC, ImageWare report earnings

Idex Biometrics has announced a massive step forward in revenue for its full-year 2020, and appointed James Simms as its new chief financial officer.

Total revenue for Idex in 2020 was $1.1 million, a 158 percent increase over 2019, and nearly as large an increase over 2018. Revenue from services was actually down significantly, but a dramatic increase in biometric product revenues more than made up the difference. Total operating expenses were reduced 15 percent from the previous year, and Idex net result for the year improved to a loss of $26.8 million, an 18 percent improvement from 2019.

A single large customer in the U.S. should push Idex’ revenue from the country higher in 2021 than the 0.5 percent of product revenues it made up in 2020.

The company’s 2020 Annual Report reviews the potential market for fingerprint biometrics, and biometric payment cards in particular, including a third-party projection of 350 million fingerprint-enabled cards shipped by 2025.

Simms has served as CFO and as a member of the Board of Directors at electronics company Vicor Corporation, where he played a key role in the company’s strategic and organizational repositioning.

“I am very excited to welcome Jamie to our global management team,” states Idex Biometrics CEO Vince Graziani. “His expertise in accounting, regulatory matters, and investor relations, together with his prior experience in investment banking, will be extremely valuable to the company as we continue to accelerate commercialization and revenue growth.”

Fingerprint Cards operating result turns positive on Q1 sales increase

Fingerprint Cards sales increased by 32 percent on a constant currency basis in Q1 2021, to SEK 354.7 million (roughly US$42 million), up from SEK 310 million ($31.5 million) in the same quarter a year earlier.

At the same time, gross margin increased by 5 percent to 29 percent, for an operating result of SEK 1.7 million ($200,000) after an operating loss of SEK 17.7 million ($2.1 million) in Q1 2020.

Earnings per share before dilution likewise flipped to positive, at SEK 0.03, up from a loss of SEK 0.01 in Q1 2020.

The company had forecast results about SEK 350 million from its progress in biometrics for smartphones, payment cards, and access control.

The company has a positive outlook, having recently opened three new regional facilities to its global footprint and repurchased SEK 240.7 million ($28.5 million) since the beginning of 2020.

“Our product mix has continuously improved, with an increasingly positive impact on our gross margin as a result,” observes Fingerprint Cards CEO Christian Fredrikson. “Our profitability also benefited from continued high sales from our inventories, continued effective cost control, as well as a certain positive currency effect in relation to the preceding quarter.”

Operational highlights during the quarter include the implantation of FPC’s new biometric solution for PCs, and confirmation of compliance to Mastercard’s reference specifications for its T-Shape biometric sensor module.

ImageWare reports Q4 earnings down, full year up 36 percent

ImageWare has reported a 20 percent drop in revenues for its biometric identification and authentication technology in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period a year ago, falling to $786,000.

Gross profit was down by a similar amount, as were operating expenses, and ImageWare’s loss from operations improved to $2.5 million, compared to $3 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

For full-year 2020, revenue increased by 36 percent from $3.5 million in 2019 to $4.8 million, and operating expenses decreased by 15 percent at the same time. Net loss available to common shareholders improved to $10.9 million, or $0.08 per share, compared to a loss of $17.3 million or $0.17 per share in 2019.

The company also notes operational highlights in the quarter and progress in carrying out its planned transformation.

“While our sales for the quarter were challenged, we did generate meaningful annualized improvements,” states ImageWare Chair, President and CEO Kristin Taylor. “We are currently implementing proactive changes to support our long-term growth plans and believe we have a solid foundation on which to build going forward. These changes include upgrading our sales force and leadership team, refining our focus to expand market share and product footprint, implementing a business partner program, attending hyperlocal events, having a targeted business development program to senior executives in specific industries and regions, and enhancing our legacy product offerings to support integration into our product strategy. With these initiatives in place, we expect to see improved bookings and sales results beginning in the second half of 2021.”

OneSpan activist investor proposes four new Independent Directors

The ongoing conflict between OneSpan and its activist investor Legion Partners Asset Management continues, with an open letter calling for the company’s Board of Directors to be refreshed with the four independent directors nominated by Legion Partners.

Legion Partners owns approximately 6.9 percent of OneSpan’s outstanding stock, and published the letter when filing its definitive proxy statement. The investor last year called for the replacement of OneSpan Founder and CEO T. Kendall Hunt to be replaced on the Board, shortly before Pomerantz LLP filed a suit alleging misleading and “materially false” statements.

The letter states that without its pressure, two long-overdue resignations from the Board would not have occurred, that the stock continues to severely underperform, that monetizing its hardware business could boost OneSpan’s stock by 70 percent, and the capital allocation abilities of the current Board after 13 acquisitions it calls “questionable,” and that it has recruited four proposed board members that would dramatically enhance its experience and expertise.

OneSpan appointed a cloud solutions expert to its Board this week and noted that it has replaced five directors since mid-2019.

The investor is ultimately seeking OneSpan’s transformation into a pure play software company.

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