Experian sees good US sales but UK suffers

EXPERIAN said it was on track for a “good” full-year profit yesterday after revenues edged higher in the second half, helped by strong sales in Latin America.

But shares in the firm fell around four per cent after the results disappointed the market.

The credit checking and business information company saw revenues rise three per cent in the six months to 31 March.

The group’s Latin American operations put in the strongest performance with a 17 per cent rise in sales.

But sales in the UK and Ireland slumped by two per cent.

A fall in new lending – which would require credit checking – was blamed for the sales drop as well as the recession causing some companies to go out of business.

A shrinking of budgets also saw some firms cut down on the amount of financial information they bought in.

Meanwhile Experian returned to growth at its key North American unit, where it saw a two per cent jump fuelled by an improving economic climate.

Chief executive Don Roberts said in a statement yesterday: “We expect to deliver good profit and cash outcomes.”

The company met market expectations in January with a modest one per cent rise in third quarter revenue, but said at the time it expected to improve on that in the following three months as its North American business recovers.

It said yesterday that its fraud protection business in the US was performing particularly well.

Seymour Pierce analyst Caroline de La Soujeole said: “At the group level, these results are mildly disappointing – we were expecting a slightly stronger pick up in growth.”

The company offices in the UK and Ireland are in London, Nottingham and Dublin.

On yesterday’s share value Experian is worth around £6.5bn.