NFC Times Exclusive – Oberthur Technologies, the No. 2 smart card vendor globally and a major bank card and SIM supplier, had flat sales in 2014, blamed mainly on lower revenue in its telecom business unit from falling prices for lower-end SIM cards, slow sales of NFC SIMs and a hiatus in its contract to supply embedded chips to Samsung.
Higher shipments of EMV cards, especially to U.S. banks, helped the vendor avoid a drop in overall revenue. But the 2014 results, according to Moody’s Investors Service, show that heavily leveraged Oberthur was unable to cut its debt load and significantly deleverage last year, though Moody’s analysts believe the vendor will make some progress this year thanks largely to a significant cut in costs from a restructuring program in 2014 that closed four factories in Europe, along with stronger revenue growth.
Oberthur has taken on a large amount of debt since acquisition of the vendor by U.S.-based private equity firm Advent International in November of 2011, with “limited deleveraging since the buyout,” Sebastien Cieniewski, a London-based senior analyst for Moody’s, told NFC Times.