* FPC Q3 EBIT below consensus
* Sees Q4 volume decline due to seasonal factor
* Shares fall as much as 16 pct (Adds shares, comments)
STOCKHOLM, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Fingerprint Cards (FPC) shares fell 16 percent on Thursday after the biometric firm’s quarterly earnings came in below forecasts and it flagged a fall in delivery volumes.
The former stock market star, which makes fingerprint sensors used to unlock smartphones, said a cautious approach from Chinese customers and consolidation among companies that make the units where sensors are inserted into smartphones had hit market growth and deliveries.
FPC said delivery volumes would fall in the fourth quarter, as third quarter volumes are usually around 10 percent higher for smartphone component makers.
Three profit warnings since the end of 2016 have weighed on FPC’s shares, which are down by over 70 percent so far this year. They fell 12 percent at 0858 GMT, to 17.45 crowns.
FPC’s share price surged around 1,600 percent in 2015 due to soaring demand from smartphone makers, but declined almost 50 percent last year as competition increased.
The 20-year-old Swedish firm had its big breakthrough in 2015 when demand for fingerprint sensors in smartphones and tablets soared after other manufacturers followed the lead of Apple, which bought its own sensor maker, AuthenTec, in 2012.
The company said in September that its revenue would be far below market estimates in the third quarter as the industry switches to cheaper user-recognition technology.
“We will focus on increasing efficiency and lowering costs throughout the supply chain. We are also aiming to implement a number of efficiency measures in order to reduce our costs,” FPC said on Thursday.
CEO Christian Fredrikson said he still expects the gross margin, which fell to 33 percent in the quarter from 49 a year ago, to reach between 40 and 45 percent in the long term.
He added the firm’s market share had started to stabilize below 50 percent.
Operating profit in the third quarter was 52 million crowns ($6.4 million), lower than the 114 million crowns seen by analysts in a Reuters poll.
The profit was hit by 29 million crowns due to a production materials write-off and sales of older products at a loss.
FPC’s said its sales came in at 841 million, in line with the guidance from last month of between 800 million and 840 million crowns, but down from 1.86 billion in the previous year. ($1 = 8.2052 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Olof Swahnberg; editing by Alexander Smith)