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Mixed bag for biometrics firms reporting financial performance

Mixed bag for biometrics firms reporting financial performance

Zwipe, maker of biometric payment and access card hardware and software, is reporting financials for the second half of 2022 that reflect slower-than-anticipated growth of the market.

Company executives also blamed a 30 percent increase in employees, from 33 to 43.

It is clearest to see the effect when looking at adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda. The company says this metric worsened, from a loss of NOK81.7 million (US$8 million) in ’21 to a loss of NOK96.4 million ($9.5 million) last fiscal year.

Zwipe says it lost NOK56.6 million ($5.6 million) in the second half of ’22 on revenue of NOK3.1 million ($300,000), compared to a loss of NOK56.4 million ($5.5 million) on revenue of NOK1.1 million ($110,000) a year ago.

Full-year revenue was NOK3.9 million ($380,000), compared to NOK2.5 million ($250,000) in 2021.

Little has been disclosed about the fourth quarter or the full year, but executives are pointing out that fourth-quarter revenue sales hit a company record of NOK2.3 million ($230,000). Little wonder, given the fact that Zwipe announced its single largest commercial order at yearend.

The deal was a $225,000 contract with “a large European smart card manufacturer.”

Cash flow was cut by NOK13.4 million ($1.3 million), to negative NOK60.6 million ($5.9 million), the company’s second-half burn rate. Zwipe’s average monthly burn rate during the six months improved, according to executives, and is anticipated to improve in fiscal 2023.

Last fall, executives raised cash through a NOK100 million ($9.8 million) rights issue, a tool that offers shareholders a discount on new share purchases.

The money will, in part, “accelerate our go-to-market strategy in both Zwipe Pay and Zwipe Access.” It also will be put toward smart card manufacturers to get certified, prepare for mass production and move faster with pilot projects.

The situation is different for semiconductor maker Infineon, which is involved in an array of biometrics projects and partnerships. Executives are reporting a “very profitable” first quarter and have budged up their guidance for fiscal 2023.

They say profit was €728 million ($788 million), or €0.55 per share (60 cents), in the three months ended December 31, down a little from the fourth quarter of 2022, but up significantly year over year, when they reported €457 million ($494.9 million), or €0.35 (38 cents), in profit.

Revenue for the first quarter was €3.95 billion ($4.3 billion), 25 percent better the €3.1 billion ($3.4 billion) reported in the same quarter a year ago. Gross margin rose to 47.2 percent, compared to 41.5 percent last year.

Company executives anticipate revenue being flat in the second quarter, assuming a dollar exchange rate of $1.5 to the euro. They expect that revenue from connected secure systems will remain stable. Revenue from power and sensor systems segment should decline significantly on weak market conditions for most target applications.

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