January 21, 2019 / 9:05 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Wirecard CEO says company had very good start to 2019

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MUNICH, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Wirecard had a "very strong" fourth quarter and good start to 2019, CEO Markus Braun told Reuters, as the fintech firm maintained the momentum that propelled it into Germany's blue-chip DAX index last year.

Wirecard, seeking to become the go-to platform for e-commerce, has started 2019 with a series of partnerships - including with Swatch of Switzerland to make contactless digital payments using its watches.

"We had a very strong fourth quarter – that fully played into the development of the third quarter," Braun told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the DLD tech conference in Munich.

Wirecard shares were up 1.9 percent at 0856 GMT.

"We had a very good start to the year in terms of sales. So we are very optimistic, I think that 2019 will be a very strong year," Braun added, confirming guidance for core earnings of 740-800 million euros ($840-$910 million) this year.

Since the turn of the year, Wirecard has announced deals with Chinese travel company Ctrip; German state railways Deutsche Bahn; German supermarket chain real, owned by Metro; and European cosmetics company RINGANA.

In the Swatch deal, wearers would either be able to use the SwatchPAY! app or their own virtual payment cards via Wirecard's own Boon payments app. The product will be launched first in Switzerland and then more broadly.

Wirecard also offers wearables payments products with Garmin and Fitbit, said Braun, as part of its consumer-facing business built on top of the 35 million physical and 'virtual' pre-paid cards it has issued.

Consumer products, also including partnerships with Apple Pay and Google Pay, account for 13 billion euros out of the 91 billion in annual payments processed by Wirecard. ($1 = 0.8791 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine; editing by Thomas Seythal/Keith Weir)

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