Fiscal ’22 was tricky but not impossible for European fingerprint firms
Next Biometrics has reported some tough fourth-quarter and fiscal-year financials, but it is also talking about encouraging market changes in its core market, India.
Company executives reported a gross margin of 14.8 million Norwegian kroner (US$1.4 million) for fiscal year 2022 on total revenue of NOK48.3 million ($4.68 million). That compares to a gross margin of NOK10 million ($969,000) on revenue of NOK50.8 million ($4.92 million) in the previous fiscal year.
For the fourth quarter, ended December 31, Next reported a gross margin NOK2.9 million ($281,000) on revenue of NOK11.9 million ($1.15 million). That compares to a profit of NOK653,000 ($34,000) on total revenue of NOK13.6 million ($1.31 million) for the same period the previous year.
Helping to sink Q4 revenue were “very low” FAP20 sensor shipments caused by purchase delays by significant biometric sensor buyers in India, according to Next’s unaudited statement.
Executives are watching for a turnaround in Indian demand and new accounts globally. They saw strength in biometric notebook sensor shipments last year and say PC sensors this year could match 2021 demand.
Indeed, Next is reporting that an unnamed Indian original equipment maker (which the company says has a 20 percent to 25 percent market share) has placed a minimum recurring biometric sensor order amounted to $1 million in revenue this year.
Simultaneously, the central government has said it will launch new generation of Aadhaar fingerprint scanner this quarter. Officials have ordered the phased replacement of all Aadhaar scanners with authentication rates below 30 percent or are older than five years.
The fourth quarter and fiscal year figures for Idex Biometrics were all going in the right direction over time with the exception of net loss, which was all but unchanged.
For Q4 2022, Idex reported a loss of $6.2 million on revenue of $1 million compared to a loss of $10.9 million on revenue of $787,000 during the same period a year ago.
While noting that many nations and regions around the world are turning to fingerprint-verified cards, including Eastern Europe and the United Arab Emirates, company executives also knelt before the Indian economy.
Idex and M-Tech Innovation partnered to better address a market that today is described as having 1 billion payment cards.
Finally, Precise Biometrics had a more mixed fourth quarter.
Executives have reported a fiscal 2022 gross margin of 71.5 percent, compared to 76.3 percent for fiscal 2021. Sales for the year were 91 million Swedish kronor ($8.75 million) compared to SEK83 million ($7.97 million) in fiscal 2021.
For Q4, the gross margin was 63.4 percent compared to 77.4 percent during the last quarter of 2021. Revenue for the quarter was SEK27 million ($2.59 million) compared to SEK19 million ($1.82 million).
The company has blamed bumps on a week mobile market. And as with Idex, Precise sought strength in numbers, partnering with Isorg, from France, and CanvasBio, from South Korea, both sensor makers.