LONDON -- Experian (LSE: EXPN ) is up around 6% so far this morning, following the publication of its preliminary results for the year ending March 31, 2013. The company -- which provides data and analytical tools to clients around the world to help them manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers, and automate decision making -- reported a strong performance, especially in its credit services and decision analytics businesses in North America and Latin America, and its consumer services business in the U.K. and Ireland.
Underlying pre-tax profit increased 6%, to $1,195 million, on revenue from continuing activities of $4,713 million, up 10% (at constant exchange rates) on the previous year. Underlying earnings per share grew 9%, to $0.857. Total earnings from continuing operations were up 7%, at $1,253 million.
Commenting on the results, CEO Don Robert said:
Experian performed strongly last year. We met or exceeded our core financial objectives and made good progress strategically. Our global growth program is growing in scale and momentum, positioning us strongly for the future and helping us to withstand economic headwinds in some of our markets. For the year ahead, 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%.
In today's results the company announced a second interim dividend of $0.24, bringing the full-year dividend to $0.3475, an increase of 9% on FY 2012. It also said that it intends to conduct a $500 million share buy-back program over the next year, which should return further value to shareholders.
Experian's share price is now up almost 22% on this time last year, and close to double that (43%) over the last two years.
Whether you own Experian shares or not, if you're looking for other great companies to invest in, you need to get hold of our exclusive new report -- "5 Shares To Retire On" -- which features five particularly attractive opportunities from The Fool's top analysts.
Download your report now -- it's free!