Equifax posts higher profit, revenue for 3Q

ATLANTA -- Equifax Inc., which collects and sells consumer credit information, said Wednesday that its profit grew 17 percent in the third quarter, aided by stronger revenue in its consumer-information business.

The company reported net income of $77.9 million, or 64 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with net income of $66.7 million, or 54 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Excluding the impact of acquisition-related expenses, Equifax's earnings amounted to 75 cents per share.

On that basis, the latest results beat analysts' consensus forecast, which called for earnings of 72 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Third-quarter revenue grew 11 percent to $543.9 million from $490.4 million a year earlier. Analysts were expecting $540.4 million.

Management noted that mortgage activity remains strong, though most of the company's growth is coming from other sources, including its strategic initiatives and new product innovations.

Richard Smith, Equifax's Chairman and CEO, said he expects the mortgage market to remain strong the next few quarters.

"I am also optimistic that the momentum we have established will continue as we move into 2013," he added.

Looking ahead, the company expects adjusted earnings per share will range from 72 cents to 76 cents in the fourth quarter. Analysts are expecting earnings of 74 cents per share.

Four of the Equifax's largest businesses _ U.S. Consumer, International, Workforce Solutions and North America Personal Solutions _ each posted revenue growth during the quarter.

Equifax's mortgage business, part of its U.S. Consumer segment, saw the biggest revenue gain _ an increase of 35 percent to $43.4 million.

Based in Atlanta, Equifax collects credit information on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide.

Shares slipped 41 cents to $49.06 during regular trading. The stock is up 27 percent so far this year.