* Revenue growth steady in H2 vs. expected acceleration
* Analysts concerned at lack of “real guidance” for 2015
* 2017 profit goal raised following SafeNet acquisition (Recasts, adds analyst comments, details)
By Alexandre Boksenbaum-Granier
March 5 (Reuters) - Shares in SIM card maker Gemalto NV , hit last month by a report that U.S. and British spy services had stolen its SIM card encryption keys, fell again on Thursday following disappointing 2014 revenue growth figures.
The Franco-Dutch company reported a 5 percent annual revenue rise on a constant currency basis to 2.47 billion euros ($2.73 billion) against 2.38 billion euros a year earlier. The growth rate was similar to that in the first half, but analysts had factored in some acceleration and the shares dropped 3.7 percent to 69.53 euros in morning trading.
“Gemalto won’t be able to put more pressure on operating spending so topline growth needs to be there in the months/years to come for the roadmap not to be at risk,” said a Paris-based trader.
Analysts at ING said in a morning note they were also concerned that there was “no real guidance” for 2015.
The company raised its goal for 2017 profit from operations to exceed 660 million euros (about $731 million) from its previous target of over 600 million euros thanks to its acquisition of data protection specialist SafeNet.
Gemalto, a maker of smart chips for mobile phones, bank cards and biometric passports, said in August it would buy SafeNet to expand its customer base to major U.S. clients and closed the acquisition in January.
Gemalto said SafeNet would have contributed about 292 million euros to its 2014 revenue on a consolidated pro forma basis.
The firm also increased its cash dividend to 0.42 euros per share from 0.38 euros.
Gemalto’s full year profit from operations rose to 383 million euros from 348 million euros in 2013.
The company acknowledged last month that U.S. and British spies were likely to have hacked its technology in an attempt to steal codes that protect the privacy of mobile phone users.
Gemalto shares have risen from a 2014 low around 53 euros to 72 euros this week, but are still down from 2014 high of about 87 euros. ($1 = 0.9027 euros) (Additional reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in Bengaluru and Andrew Callus in Paris; Editing by Vincent Baby)