Heartland Payment moves to 4Q loss, gives 2015 profit forecast below analysts' estimates

MarketsAssociated Press

Heartland Payment Systems Inc. moved to a loss in its fourth quarter, weighed down in part by impairment charges. The payment processor also provided a 2015 earnings outlook below Wall Street's view.

Share slipped in Friday morning trading.

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The Princeton, New Jersey-based company lost $19.8 million, or 55 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. A year ago it earned $33.9 million, or 91 cents per share.

The current quarter included asset impairment charges of $1.02 per share.

Excluding acquisition-related costs and stock-based compensation, it lost 42 cents per share.

The results missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 68 cents per share.

The payments processor posted revenue of $604.6 million in the period, which also fell short of Wall Street forecasts. Analysts expected higher revenue of $622.2 million, according to Zacks.

Heartland Payment also raised its quarterly dividend by more than 17 percent to 10 cents per share. The dividend will be on March 13 to shareholders of record on March 2.

For the year, the company reported a profit of $33.9 million, or 91 cents per share. Its adjusted profit was $1.35 per share. Revenue was reported as $2.31 billion.

Heartland Payment expects 2015 adjusted earnings in the range of $2.75 to $2.85 per share, with revenue in the range of $775 million to $790 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet predict earnings of $3 per share on revenue of $782.2 million.

Heartland Payment shares dropped $3.92, or 7.1 percent, to $51.21.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on HPY at http://www.zacks.com/ap/HPY

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Keywords: Heartland Payment, Earnings Report