Oberthur Card Systems, the top supplier of VISA and MasterCards, reported Friday that it has turned in its best performance ever during the first six months of this year. For the first time since June 2001, Oberthur showed a net profit of $3.2 million as smart card shipments during the first half increased more than 24% on a year-on-year basis. The return to profitability was also due to the company’s debt reduction and a revaluation of Oberthur shares held by the company. Net debt was reduced to $87 million, and the payroll was reduced from approximately 3,500 employees to slightly less than 3,000, over the past 18 months. During the second quarter Oberthur delivered more than 28 million microprocessor cards, including 11.2 million smart payment cards. Second quarter revenues for smart payment cards increased 5.4% to $22.3 million. However, sales of banking magnetic stripe cards, loyalty cards, scratch cards and memory cards declined 29.7% to $19.9 million. Sales of SIM and ID cards for the second quarter totaled $42.9 million. For complete details on Oberthur’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).