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PubliCARD sees revenue growth, goes broadband

Chip-based technology company PubliCARD Inc. (Nasdaq: CARD) said on Thursday it expected its first-quarter sales to rise 30 percent from the previous period, and announced a broadband initiative.

Shares in the company were down 1/4 to 14 1/4 Thursday morning, close to their 52-week high of 15 1/2.

PubliCARD, currently the leading maker of coin metering products used in commercial laundry machines, also has subsidiaries that make smart card-based hardware and software for the IT, wireless communications, pay TV, and identification markets worldwide.

The company also said Tuesday it will hone in on software and services for the broadband market. It has recently filed 11 patents and has partnerships with major cable component manufacturers and set-top box OEMs. It expects to raise $25 million from divesting its non-core operations. which will be used to fuel aggressive expansion plans, PubliCARD said.

First Call did not have a consensus estimate for the company, which said loss was $4 million, or 19 cents a share, for the fourth quarter, wider than the pro forma loss of $1.7 million or 12 cents a share reported in 1998's fourth quarter.

PubliCARD reported revenue of $1.1 million for the fourth quarter of, up from $3,000 in the prior year's quarter. Because of increased investments in sales and marketing and product development, the company said.

Chief financial officer Antonio DeLise said the company expected "that sales for the first quarter of 2000 will increase by more than 30 percent sequentially, and that our pro forma loss from continuing operations will be approximately $0.20 to $0.25 per share."

PubliCARD competes with privately-held French company Gemplus, Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) and SCM Microsystems (Nasdaq: SCMM).

Reuters contributed to this report.