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Why First Data Corp. Stock Popped Today

By Steve Symington – Apr 30, 2018 at 3:40PM

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The payment-processing solutions company kicked off 2018 on a high note. Here's what investors need to know.

What happened

Shares of First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) jumped 18.5% on Monday after the payment-processing technology specialist announced strong first-quarter 2018 results and increased its full-year guidance.

Quarterly revenue fell 8% year over year to $2.282 billion -- though that figure was impacted by recently adopted new accounting standards. Segment revenue climbed 11% year over year to $2.08 billion, including 5% organic growth. On the bottom line, that translated to adjusted (non-GAAP) net income of $279 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, up from $0.28 per share in the same year-ago period.

Analysts, on average, were only expecting adjusted earnings of $0.26 per share on revenue of $1.86 billion.

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So what

Revenue climbed 15% year over year (on a comparable accounting basis) to $1.318 billion at First Data's core global business solutions segment. Meanwhile, sales from the smaller global financial solutions segment rose 2% to $400 million, and "network and security solutions" revenue rose 4% on a comparable accounting basis to $363 million. First Data's consolidated EBITDA also climbed 14% year over year on a comparable accounting basis, to $730 million.

All the while, the company continued its deleveraging efforts, paying down $186 million in debt during the quarter to bring its total borrowings to $19.012 billion.

First Data chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano stated:

We had an excellent start to 2018. We continued to execute against key initiatives across our business, delivering strong financial performance and positioning us to raise our guidance for the year. We further expanded Clover's market presence, our cutting-edge ISV business continued to rapidly gain share, our international businesses again delivered strong growth, and our backlog of new enterprise deals continued to expand and ramp.

Now what

To be sure, First Data increased its full-year 2018 guidance to call for total segment revenue growth of 6% to 7% (up from 5% to 7% previously), EBITDA growth of 8% to 10% (up from 7% to 9% before), and adjusted earnings per share of $1.42 to $1.47 (up from $1.35 to $1.40).

In the end, there was nothing not to like about this beat and raise from First Data. And it's no surprise to see the market driving shares up in response.

Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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