Smart card maker Gemalto posted a 9 per cent rise in first-quarter sales on the back of strong momentum for higher-end mobile products and services and the strongest-ever contract bookings in its security division. Gemalto, which develops the security software embedded in chips for mobile phones and payment cards, said it was on its way towards its target of 300 million euros in operating profit in 2013. Quarterly revenue was 483 million ($636.78 million). Sales at its mobile division -which brings in close to half of revenue - rose 11 per cent, driven by projects in Near Field Communications (NFC), the technology found in smartphones for contactless payments, and fourth-generation networks. “We have a very good evolution of the product mix towards the high range,” Chief Executive Olivier Piou said. “Both our high-end and new products have done very well. But if you look at countries with lower-end products, such as India, there is a lot less volume there.” Piou said he expected sales in its mobile unit to grow by a high single-digit per centage over the full year. Gemalto has diversified into the security business in recent years, with a focus on payment technologies and identity management, away from its once core activity of making SIM cards for mobiles, seen under threat from Chinese chipmakers. Piou said the company did not face much competition in its mobile business from Chinese companies as they had taken a share of the lower-end of the SIM card market while it had focused on value-added products. With more than 10,000 staff, Gemalto competes against Germany’s Giesecke & Devrient in its secure travel documents and mobile payment business as well as companies such as Morpho, a unit of Safran, Oberthur Technologies and WatchData.