January 25, 2018 / 6:52 AM / in 9 months

Fingerprint Cards says to cut staff after warning of Q4 loss

STOCKHOLM, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Swedish biometric firm Fingerprint Cards (FPC) warned on Thursday it would run an operating loss for the fourth quarter and that sales were expected to remain weak heading into 2018.

The company said in a statement it would cut 185 jobs to parry the downturn, equal to about 45 percent of its work force based on staffing levels in the third quarter.

The fingerprint sensor and iris recognition firm said earnings had been negatively affected by a large inventory provision, slow demand, price pressure and a weakening product mix in the final quarter of the year.

FPC said it expected a quarterly operating loss of 40.6 million crowns ($5.15 million), compared with a 520 million profit in the year-ago quarter, while sales were seen tumbling 62 percent year-on-year to 615 million crowns.

“The company estimates that the Chinese smartphone market has weakened further during the quarter and predicts that the company’s revenues will remain weak during the first quarter of 2018,” it said.

FPC’s customers include top Chinese smartphone makers such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo – and Google Pixel, among others.

The company, which has issued a steady stream of profit warnings over the past year, said it had initiated a cost reduction program that was seen generating savings of 360 million crowns this year 2018 while running up restructuring costs of about 40 million crowns. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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