Gemalto ups its 2012 target after rising H1

PARIS Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:12am EDT

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PARIS Aug 30 (Reuters) - Smart card maker Gemalto said it now aimed to reach 300 million euros ($375.83 million) in operating profit this year, a year earlier than its original 2013 target, after it posted rising first-half results on Thursday.

Gemalto, which develops the security software embedded in chips for mobile phones and payment cards, posted a 56 percent rise in first-half operating profit to 115 million euros.

Sales at its mobile division - which brings in close to half of revenue - were up 6 percent at constant rates over the period to 476 million euros. Total sales came at 1.016 billion euros.

The Paris-listed group reiterated its outlook for an increase in sales and operating profit in all of its divisions in 2012.

On average, analysts expected Gemalto to report sales of 929.31 million euros in the first half and EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of 82.6 million euros, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Gemalto has diversified into the security business in recent years, with a focus on payment technologies and identity management, away from its once core activity of making SIM cards for mobiles, seen under threat from Chinese chipmakers.

With more than 10,000 staff, Gemalto competes against Germany's Giesecke & Devrient in its secure travel documents and mobile payment business as well as companies such as Morpho, a unit of Safran, Oberthur Technologies and WatchData.

Sales in its security division, which makes electronic passports, driving licences and health cards for the public sector, came at 180 million euros, rising 19 percent at constant exchange rates. ($1 = 0.7982 euros) (Reporting by Alice Cannet; Editing by Christian Plumb)

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