Experian boosted by Brazil as Europe drags on finals

Credit checking colossus Experian delivered full year results showing sales growth across all its global markets, with Latin and North America leading the way.

Credit checking colossus Experian delivered full year results showing sales growth across all its global markets, with Latin and North America leading the way.

In the year to end-March, Dublin-headquartered Experian grew revenues from continuing activities 6.0% to $4.7bn, with earnings before interest and tax up 7.0% to $1.25bn.

With a final dividend of 24 cents, the group increased its full-year dividend 9.0% to 34.75 cents and announced a further share repurchase programme.

Chief Executive Don Robert hailed a strong performance and said the group met or exceeded its core financial objectives and made good progress strategically.

"Our global growth programme is growing in scale and momentum, positioning us strongly for the future and helping us to withstand economic headwinds in some of our markets."

Despite economic headwinds in some markets, the global growth programme saw all regions produce organic revenue growth, led by Latin America's 14% and 7.0% in North America.

Experian blamed weak conditions in Europe and some parts of Asia Pacific for low growth of 3.0% in those regions, where it has looking to improve operating efficiency and push into markets showing growth potential such as Turkey and Russia, with a new credit bureau launched in Australia.

UK and Ireland grew 5.0%, with performance strengthening as the year progressed. The Consumer Services business expanded more than 20% as new features were introduced, while there was a return to growth across Credit Services, which helped offset a decline in the marketing business.

Segmentally, all four business lines advanced, with both Credit Services and Consumer Services ahead 9.0% and both Decision Analytics and Marketing Services progressing 6.0%.

The most significant product contributors to growth were fraud and identity management and telecommunications, while geographic expansion was notably made in Colombia and Russia.

Although earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) conversion into operating cash flow was 94%, exceeding the target 90%, net debt increased by $1.1bn to $2.9bn by year end mainly due to acquisition expenditure from the purchase of a further interest in Brazilian firm Serasa.

The acquisition was completed during the year of a further 29.6% interest in Serasa to take the group's total holding to 99.6%, and contributing to Brazil being a key performance driver, with clients added in new customer segments and a range of new products introduced.

For the year ahead, Robert said: "We aim to deliver further premium growth, and look for mid to high single-digit organic revenue growth, modestly improved margins - at constant currency - and cash flow conversion of at least 90%."

OH

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