LaserCard Hit by Profit Warning

NEW YORK -- LaserCard Corp. shares tumbled after the smart-card maker said third-quarter earnings will fall short of estimates, because of weak sales at its core optical-card business.

The stock closed down 19 percent at $8.79.

Raymond James reiterated its "market perform" rating on the Mountain View, Calif., company on the news and cut its earnings estimates.

While LaserCard LCRD stands to win secure-identification card business from the Italian government's plan to launch a national ID card, and from India's planned motor-vehicle registration program, "the company is plagued by delays and continual disappointments," said Raymond James analyst Chris Quilty.

After the closing Monday, LaserCard said it expects revenue of $6 to $6.2 million in the third quarter, and a loss of 24 to 27 cents a share. In the prior quarter, the company lost 13 cents a share on revenue of $7.8 million.

The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson First Call was for a loss of 14 cents a share, on revenue of $7.68 million.

IRG Research said it would view today's selling as a buying opportunity, reminding investors that any value in the stock lays in future international business.

"The miss was versus no active guidance and a wide forecast range," said analyst Brian Foote. Revenue estimates were as high as $9.9 million to a low of $6.2 million; the only company outlook was $3.9 million in backlog, which it revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, he said.

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