Alliance Data Systems
posted a big earnings beat for the third quarter and boosted its full-year profit forecast Wednesday.
The Dallas-based transaction-services outfit reported earnings of $48.8 million, or 60 cents a share, up from $35.9 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier.
On a so-called cash basis, which excludes items, Alliance Data's earnings jumped to $66.1 million, or 81 cents a share, from $43.8 million, or 51 cents a share, last year.
The cash earnings handily topped the Thomson First Call average analyst estimate of 67 cents. The company's own forecast had called for cash earnings of at least 62 cents a share.
Revenue surged 32% to $506.6 million from $384.8 million, surpassing Wall Street's forecast of $471 million. It was first time the company's revenue topped the half-billion dollar mark in a quarterly period.
Alliance Data said results were driven by strength in its marketing services division, where revenue jumped 50% to $218.6 million.
For 2006, the company raised its cash earnings target to $3 to $3.05 a share from its earlier view of $2.75. Analysts, on average, expect earnings of $2.96 a share.
Alliance Data also gave initial guidance for 2007, forecasting cash earnings of at least $3.50 a share and revenue of at least $2.1 billion. Wall Street's current forecasts call for earnings of $3.32 a share and revenue of $2.14 billion.
Shares were up $2, or 3.6%, to $58 in after-hours trading.