Sticky Fingerprints, redux | FT Alphaville

Sticky Fingerprints, redux

Something odd this way comes from Sweden, via South Korea…

Fingerprint Cards (FPC) clarifies press release dated December 6, 2013

In respect of the press release issued on December 6, 2013 relating to Bloomberg, the company would like to make it clear that the release was a confirmation of the design win announced by the company in a press release dated January 28, 2013, in which it was stated that the launch of the solutions containing FPC’s fingerprint sensors was scheduled to take place in the second half of 2013.

For further information, contact:
Johan Carlström, President and CEO, Fingerprint Cards AB (publ), +46 31-60 78 20, investrel@fingerprints.com

Sound familiar? It was only two months ago that a fake press release on the Fingerprint Cards website claimed that the company, which makes mobile verification tech, was being bought for $650m by Samsung. The shares rose 50 per cent before the day’s trades were cancelled.

Ooops. Damn those fraudster hackers. That wouldn’t happen again, would it?

Well, there has been another press release.

On Friday there was this:

New smartphones using FPC fingerprint technology launched by Pantech in Korea
6 December, 2013

During December and January, the three Pantech Android phone models IM-A900S, IM-A900K and IM-A900L, Vega Secret Up, will start to sell in operator stores all over Korea. These phones follow the successful launches of the popular finger sensor enabled smartphone Pantech Vega LTE-A and Vega Secret Note, launched earlier this year.

”We have received very positive feed-back on the finger sensor and its associated secure applications in Pantech Vega LTE-A and Vega Secret Note and we are happy to deploy this important feature in more products. Our finger sensor enabled products are all compatible with the Korean payment service called Bartong,” says Mr. Lee, leader of the Component Development Team of Pantech.

Thomas Rex, EVP Sales &Marketing of FPC, comments:
“The Korean market is one of the most advanced mobile markets. Pantech has become a pioneer in finger-sensor-enabled products with a wide product range and its related security and convenience applications, such as the Bartong payment service.”

Which prompted the clarification. But in the interim there was this story in the Korea Herald, which quotes the chief executive:

As smartphone makers scramble to adopt new identification technologies, Korean manufacturers Samsung and LG are expected to soon sign deals with Fingerprint Cards, a Swedish company that specializes in fingerprint verification systems, industry sources told The Korea Herald.

The deal, if realized, would not be an acquisition, as some sources had previously suggested.

“All tier-1 OEMs will have smartphones with either touch or swipe sensors during 2014 or early 2015,” CEO Johan Carlstrom of Fingerprint Cards AB said in an email interview with The Korea Herald.

Tier-1 OEMs are major partners in a supply chain to which a firm directly supplies its products.

According to market watchers, the tier-1 clients of the Swedish firm likely include Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.

The CEO declined to specify who its partners were, due to a non-disclosure agreement, but he said “The FPC has a close and continuous dialogue with all of the most important OEMs globally.”

By the way, in the last year the share price has gone perpendicular:

Meanwhile, at an extraordinary general meeting on 26 November… the company decided that, among other resolutions, it would issue 500,000 share warrants in a private placement the following day.

The right to subscribe for the share warrants, disapplying the shareholders’ preferential rights, is to accrue to Fingerprint Security System Databärare AB (the “Subsidiary”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company. Subscription is to be completed no later than November 27, 2013. The share warrants will be issued without consideration. The Subsidiary is to transfer the share warrants according to what is stated in “Transfer of share warrants” below. The Subsidiary has subscribed for 500,000 share warrants. The program was fully subscribed.

Each share warrant entitles its holder to subscribe for one new class B share in the Company. In accordance with the terms and conditions for the share warrants, subscription may occur as of November 27, 2016 up to and including December 27, 2016. The subscription price is to correspond to 200 percent of the quoted volume-weighted average price paid for Class B shares in the Company on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm during the period from November 12, 2013 up to and including November 25, 2013. The subscription price has been set at SEK 90.16. The increase in the Company’s share capital upon full exercise of the share warrants will amount to no more than SEK 100 000, corresponding to dilution of approximately 0.8 percent of the total number of shares in the Company and approximately 0.7 percent of the total number of voting rights in the Company.

The reason for disapplying the shareholders’ preferential rights is to enable the employees, by investing themselves, to participate in and work for a positive value trend for the Company’s share during the entire period covered by the proposed program, and to enable the Company to recruit competent and committed personnel.

We are not going to pretend we have the faintest idea what is going on here.