Credit-card processor TSYS posts $45.7 million profit in third quarter

With a sluggish global economy as a backdrop, credit-card processor TSYS today reported a $45.7 million profit, or 23 cents per share, in the third quarter of this year.

Those numbers are down nearly 17 percent from the same July-September period a year ago, however, when Columbus-based TSYS posted a profit of $55 million, or 28 cents per share.

Stock market analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting average net income of 23 cents per share.

Phil Tomlinson, TSYS chairman and chief executive officer, said the company is seeing improvement from quarter to quarter.

“Excluding the termination fees and revenues from deconverted clients in the second quarter, our sequential quarterly revenues increased 2.9 percent and operating income increased 12.9 percent,” he said in a statement. “This is the second quarter in a row that revenues, operating income and transactions have increased.”

Tomlinson also said organic growth occurred in the quarter, with same-client transactions up 5.3 percent in North America and 4.3 percent internationally. Same-client merchant transactions also rose 4 percent, while the firm’s joint venture with First National Bank of Omaha — First National Merchant Solutions — experienced a 6-percent increase in dollar volume processed.

TSYS’ quarterly profit came on total revenue of $433.2 million, up 1 percent from a year ago. Earnings from continued operations were 25 cents per share, down 17 percent.

Through the first nine months of this year, TSYS has earned $146.7 million, or 74 cents per share, down 5.3 percent from a year ago. Revenue so far is $1.27 billion, up 2.6 percent.

Looking ahead, the 19 analysts polled by Thomson Financial currently are projecting the company will earn 24 cents per share in the fourth quarter and 99 cents for the entire year, which would be down from $1.12 per share for all of 2009.

On Wednesday, Tomlinson said earnings from continuing operations this year should be in the range of 98 cents to $1 per share. That’s an upgrade of 2 cents per share.

Other notes of interest during the quarter:

TSYS said it repurchased 3.1 million shares of its stock for $45.1 million.

Total accounts on file with the company as of Sept. 30 were 339.2 million, down slightly from 342.1 million at the end of September last year.

The employee count is 7,768, up 91 positions, or 1.2 percent from a year ago. Its North American work force, however, is down 426 positions, or 9 percent, to 4,323.

TSYS shares (Ticker: TSS) closed up 28 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $15.98 in trading today on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $13.41 to $17.75 per share.