Experian sees revenue up and plans programme of cuts

Information services company Experian has hiked its dividend after reporting strong revenue growth in the first half.

Information services company Experian has hiked its dividend after reporting strong revenue growth in the first half.

The company also announced an efficiency programme designed to save the firm $75m a year.

Total group revenue for the six months to the end of September was $2.3bn, with revenue from continuing activities up 12% at constant exchange rate.

This fell to 6% at actual rates, principally due to the depreciation of the Brazilian real against the US dollar.

Experian announced a first interim dividend of 10.75c per share, up 5% on the previous year.

Pre-tax profits took a hit, dropping from $351m half way through its 2011 financial year, to $76m in 2012.

The company put this down to an accounting charge of $403m against Brazilian credit checker Seresa, of which it owns 99.6%

Chief Executive Officer, Don Robert, said looking ahead, the business faced a tough comparable in the third quarter.

"For the full year, we expect high-single digit organic revenue growth, modest margin improvement (at constant currency) and to convert at least 90% of EBIT into operating cash," he said.

The firm plans to impose a programme of operational changes over the next 18 to 24 months, designed to make Experian 'more nimble'.

Examples will include re-engineering fixed costs, reducing exposure to lower growth markets, further near and off-shoring, and rationalisation of lower growth 'legacy' products.

It said one-off restructuring costs associated with this plan would be around $110m, the majority of which would be cash.

About $9m of costs came in the first half in connection with this programme.

Of this charge, $6m related to redundancy costs and $3m related to asset write-offs, the company said.

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