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fourth-quarter earnings increased fourfold from a year earlier due to a strong performance at its Comdata subsidiary.

The payroll processing and human resources company earned $46.7 million, or 32 cents a share, up from $11 million, or 7 cents a share, a year earlier. The results included unspecified tax adjustments, revenue adjustments, severance charges and asset impairments.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call projected earnings of 25 cents a share.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 5% to $379.5 million. Analysts' forecast called for revenue of $387.6 million.

For the first quarter, Ceridian expects to earn 22 cents a share to 24 cents a share, including a stock options expense of 2 cents a share. For 2006, the company predicts earnings of 98 cents to $1.08 a share, including stock options costs of 8 cents a share. Analysts predict earnings of 23 cents a share for the first quarter and $1.02 a share for all of 2006.

Ceridian targets 2006 revenue of $1.58 billion to $1.63 billion. The company expects revenue of $1.13 billion to $1.16 billion from its human resources services segment, and $445 million to $465 million from Comdata.

For the fourth quarter, revenue from the HRS segment rose 2% at $274.8 million. Revenue at Comdata subsidiary, a payment processor and issuer of credit and debit cards, rose 14% to $104.7 million. The company said higher-than-expected margins at its Comdata unit also helped results.

"The actions taken over the past four quarters to re-shape our small business segment, consolidate facilities, exit or improve under performing businesses, and streamline that organization are paying off," the company said.

Ceridian shares recently changed hands at $24.81, up 68 cents, or 2.8%.

This story was created through a joint venture between and IRIS.