Posted: Wednesday, January 24th 2007 at 10:35am
ChoicePoint profit drops more than 14 percent in 4Q
By The Associated Press
Consumer data provider ChoicePoint Inc. reported Wednesday its profit dropped more than 14 percent in the fourth quarter even as sales rose more than 7 percent.
The results were in line with Wall Street expectations when one-time items are excluded.
Choicepoint, which collects, sells access to and analyzes consumers' personal information, said it earned $23.67 million, or 30 cents per share, for the three months ending Dec. 31, compared to a profit of $27.68 million, or 30 cents per share, for the same period a year ago.
The company said its net income from continuing operations excluding other expenses and one-time items was $34.45 million, or 43 cents per share.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting earnings of 39 cents per share excluding one-time items for the final quarter of 2006. But the analyst estimate included 4 cents in stock option expense, which ChoicePoint excluded, meaning the company met expectations, according to Thomson.
Revenue rose to $266.62 million from $248.02 million for the same quarter a year ago.
Its shares rose 5 cents to $38.90 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
For all of 2006, ChoicePoint said it earned $16.92 million, or 20 cents per share, down from $140.66 million, or $1.53 per share, earned in the previous year. Full-year revenue rose slightly to $1.05 billion, compared to revenue of $1.01 billion for the previous year.
This past November, Alpharetta-based ChoicePoint said it no longer intended to sell its direct marketing business because it couldn't find someone willing to pay a fair price. Because of that decision and a previously announced accounting reclassification, the data compiler lowered its full-year revenue and profit growth expectations.
ChoicePoint collects data on individuals, including Social Security numbers, real estate holdings and current and former addresses. It also offers businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations software technology and information designed to anticipate and respond to economic and physical risk, and analyzes information for the insurance sector. The company holds about 19 billion records.
A breach that was disclosed in February 2005 involved thieves posing as small business customers who gained access to ChoicePoint's database, possibly compromising the personal information of 163,000 Americans, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
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