March 20, 2018 / 10:00 AM / a month ago

Fingerprint Cards denies giving price sensitive info to analysts

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Fingerprint Cards (FPC) (FINGb.ST) said on Tuesday it had not given price sensitive information to analysts after a brokerage said the company had warned analysts their expectations were too high, prompting a trading halt in the stock.

Pareto Securities said in a note FPC had called analysts on Monday and told them that consensus forecasts on the company’s results were too high, particularly for the first quarter.

Shares in the Swedish biometrics firm fell as much as 8 percent in early trading on Tuesday, and were down 6.9 percent before the trading halt at 0924 GMT.

“In accordance with applicable regulations, Fingerprint Cards has not communicated price sensitive information in analyst meetings, nor has the company commented on analyst estimates,” the company said in a statement.

“During the calls that were held on March 19, the company made comments on, for example, the accelerating change in market conditions for capacitive fingerprint sensors for smartphones, as communicated in the year-end report for 2017,” it added.

The shares are down more than 40 percent this year to levels last seen in 2015.

Earlier on Tuesday, Nasdaq Stockholm decided to halt trading in Fingerprint stock. They will resume trading on Wednesday, Nasdaq Stockholm said in a statement.

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

    Pareto said the average selling price for fingerprint sensors and FPC’s market share seemed to decline faster than it had expected, and cut its view on the stock to sell from hold while slashing its target price sharply.

    The brokerage said smartphone makers appeared hesitant to purchase fingerprint sensors following Apple’s (AAPL.O) adoption of face recognition technology in its iPhone X handset launched last year.

    FPC said on Monday it would develop a face recognition solution, which it currently does not have.

    Separately, FPC said on Tuesday its head of strategy, Jan Johannesson, and interim CFO Hassan Tabrizi, would leave the company. It said Tabrizi was to be replaced by Pernilla Linden.

    ($1 = 8.1851 Swedish crowns)

    Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Olof Swahnberg; additional reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans

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