Credit-card processor TSYS reports nearly 16 percent jump in first-quarter profit

Riding growth from its existing clients, credit-card processor TSYS today reported a profit of $56.4 million in the first quarter.

The company, which is headquartered in Columbus, but does business around the world, posted the net income of 30 cents per share on total revenue of $461.2 million, an increase of more than 7 percent. That net income is up from 25 cents per share in the January-March period in 2011.

The 30-cent earnings per share matched the expectations of nearly two dozen Wall Street analysts surveyed by research firm Thomson Financial.

“This quarter represents the 8th consecutive quarter that we reported positive year-over-year growth in revenues before reimbursable items,” TSYS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Phil Tomlinson said in a statement.

The company’s financial figures were up across the board, with it seeing same-client card issuer transaction processing rising more than 14 percent. Sales from its direct merchant business rose nearly 21 percent. And its across-the-board revenue growth from existing clients in all segments — North America, International and Merchant Services — was nearly 8 percent higher.

“We continue to believe TSYS will achieve our guidance of double-digit growth in earnings per share and a solid top line revenue increase in 2012,” Tomlinson said.

On the employment front, the company added nearly 300 staffers over the past year, with it now having right at 8,200 on its payroll. The bulk of those workers are in North America, although that segment is down just over 400 jobs year over year. In Columbus, it has just over 4,000 employees.

Its International operation actually added nearly 600 positions, indicative of the growth that TSYS is experiencing overseas. It does business in several European countries, is building its presence in Latin America, and is putting the pieces in place for eventual growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

TSYS also reported a burgeoning number of accounts on file, with its total growing more than 16 percent from 356.7 million at the end of March a year ago to nearly 416 million last month. Consumer credit makes up the bulk of those accounts, with government services, retail and prepaid/stored value cards making up the balance.

The company’s bread-and-butter business is charging credit-card issuers — banks and retailers — to authorize and electronically process transactions after they are swiped at places like a supermarket checkout line, at a gas pump, or used to make online purchases. It also handles things such as credit-card mailout offers and statement billing.

For investors, dividends are king, and TSYS paid 10 cents per share during the quarter. That’s up from 7 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

During the quarter and into April, TSYS unveiled several contract renewals and new clients. They include The Royal Bank of Scotland, Regions Bank, Huntington Bancshares, First Hawaiian Bank and Veracity Payment Solutions.

The company will hold its annual shareholders’ meeting 10 a.m. May 1 inside the company’s downtown Columbus headquarters auditorium.

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