Experian PLC (EXPN.LN) on Wednesday reported a 7% fall in pretax profit for the first half of fiscal 2018 after booking much higher finance charges, and said it expects good levels of growth for the year.
The credit-reporting agency said pretax profit for the six months ended Sept. 30 was $467 million, compared with $500 million a year earlier. Group revenue increased to $2.19 billion compared with $2.09 billion a year earlier, it said.
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The company booked $60 million in finance charges for the period, against $2 million for the prior period.
Total revenue from the company's largest market, North America, increased to $1.26 billion from $1.18 billion, however total revenue from the U.K. and Ireland fell to $378 million from $410 million.
FTSE 100-listed Experian raised its interim dividend by 4% to 13.5 U.S. cents from 13 cents last year.
Chief Executive Brian Cassin said that he expects organic revenue growth in the mid-single digit range and stable margins as Experian invests in operations and growth initiatives. He added that he continues to expect further progress in benchmark earnings per share.
Experian said that its consumer services business experienced a spike in enrollments after U.S. rival Equifax Inc. announced in September that hackers made off with the personal details of millions of its customers. Experian said that the Equifax data breach will increase the external risks associated with information security and that it has heightened legislative and regulatory activity.
Charlie Huggins, fund manager at Hargreaves Landsdown, said that priority for Experian is to ensure that its data security defenses are as strong as possible so it can avoid a similar fate to Equifax. He added that Experian's long-term growth prospects are excellent, providing it can keep the hackers at bay.
Shares are down 8 pence, or 0.5%, to 1,600 pence at 1030 GMT.
Write to Maryam Cockar at firstname.lastname@example.org
Corrections & Amplifications
This article was corrected at 1217 GMT because it misstated the currency of the $410 million figure as GBP in the fourth paragraph. It was $410 million, not GBP410 million.
Experian's revenue from the U.K. and Ireland was $410 million in the first half of fiscal 2017. "Experian 1H Profit Falls; Experienced Higher Enrollments After Equifax Data Breach -- Update," at 1031 GMT, misstated the currency of the $410 million figure as GBP in the fourth paragraph. It was $410 million, not GBP410 million.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 15, 2017 07:30 ET (12:30 GMT)