Biometric smart cards represent “the next biometric mass market” and a huge opportunity for Fingerprint Cards, but it’s going to take some time for the company’s efforts in this area to pay off, says CEO Christian Fredrikson in FPC’s newly published Annual Report.
Despite the optimism over biometric smart cards, Fredrikson is candid about his company’s position in the early part of 2018. Acknowledging that “2017 was a very challenging year” due to pressures in the mobile fingerprint sensor market, Fredrikson says, “I expect negative price progress to continue in 2018, and that in value terms, the market for smartphone fingerprint sensors will contract in 2018.” Fredrikson goes on to predict that 2018 will also be “a challenging year” for FPC “because we’ll be operating in harsh business conditions on the mobile side, simultaneous with investing for growth in new focus segments.”
Nevertheless, Fredrikson is upbeat about his firm’s ability to navigate this ‘year of adaptation’. On the one hand, the company is pursuing savings with a layoff and external expense reduction program, while on the other it’s aiming to establish new market segments beyond the mobile sector represent 10 percent of its sales this year, whereas last year the mobile market represented 95 percent of its sales. And biometric smart cards, an area in which FPC is already active, is going to play an important role in that effort. “Even if it will still be some time before we achieve significant commercial volumes,” Fredrikson says, “there are clear signs that the market is starting to gather pace, with several market test programs executed and planned.” Fredrikson adds that “much of the evidence indicates that the first certification process may be complete in late-2018,” which “will be a momentous milestone and may create an all-new volume market” for FPC.
Fredrikson’s commentary goes on to point to opportunities in the automotive industry, highlighting FPC’s partnership with Gentex; and in its efforts to develop ultrasonic fingerprint sensors for in-display scanning.
FPC’s Annual Report arrives just ahead of the company’s Q1 report for 2018, scheduled for publication on May 3rd, and should help to manage stakeholders’ expectations concerning the company’s results. It also arrives amid the nomination of former FPC CEO Johan Carlström to take on the role as FPC’s Chairman of the Board, among other changes in the company’s executive leadership.
April 27, 2018 – by Alex Perala