STOCKHOLM Swedish biometric firm Fingerprint Cards (FPC) on Thursday maintained its revenue guidance for 2017 as it reported a fourth-quarter operating profit below market expectations and expected weak first-quarter revenue.

FPC expected first-quarter revenues to be “materially weaker” than in the first quarter of 2016 due to earlier inventory build-up in the supply chain, a component shortage affecting its customers and intensifying competition.

FPC had its break-through year in 2015 with soaring demand from smartphone makers for its fingerprint sensors but has since faced head-wind on the stock market as it has met increased competition mainly from Chinese firm Goodix.

The company posted an operating profit of 548 million Swedish crowns ($63 million), lower than the 620 million seen by analysts in a Reuters poll, but up from 518 million in the year-ago quarter.

FPC repeated its 2017 full-year revenue guidance of between 7.5 to 9.5 billion crowns.

Analysts had on average expected 2017 revenue of 7.9 billion crowns as a surprise profit warning for 2016 in December last year weighed on confidence for the company’s forecasts.

FPC proposed a dividend of 2 crowns per share, compared to the median forecast of no dividend in a Reuters poll, and said dividend over time should at least equal to 30 percent of net profit.

The company said its objective is that revenues will on average grow by around 20 percent from 2017 to 2019.

FPC’s share price has fallen 15 percent so far this year. The exit of a board member following suspected unauthorized disclosure of inside information has weighed on the company’s share price this year.

($1 = 8.7263 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Olof Swahnberg; Editing by Alistair Scrutton; editing by Johannes Hellstrom)



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