May 3, 2018 / 5:43 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Fingerprint Cards sees "some" market stabilization ahead as Q1 lags

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STOCKHOLM, May 3 (Reuters) - Swedish biometric firm Fingerprint Cards (FPC) on Thursday reported a larger-than-expected first-quarter loss, citing a continued challenging market, but said it expected “some stabilization” in the current quarter.

“Market conditions are challenging, but we expect some stabilization and sequential growth in Q2, a quarter which has historically been seasonally stronger than Q1,” FPC said in a statement.

The company has issued a string of profit warnings over the past year and in January forecast weak first-quarter revenue, citing a slow Chinese smartphone market.

FPC said the shift towards smaller and cheaper fingerprint sensors continued during the first quarter, which weighed on its average selling price, and predicted the declining price trend to continue due to the difficult competitive situation.

“This product mix trend was the single most important factor underlying the decline in sales and the weaker gross margin,” it added.

The former stock market star had its big breakthrough in 2015 when demand for fingerprint sensors in smartphones and tablets soared after other manufacturers followed the lead of Apple, but has since faced increased competition.

The firm reported an operating loss of 175 million Swedish crowns ($19.7 million), down from a 71 million profit in the year-ago quarter, and compared with the 80 million crown loss forecast in a Reuters survey of three analysts.

$1 = 8.8902 Swedish crowns Reporting by Olof Swahnberg, editing by Johannes Hellstrom and Terje Solsvik

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