First Data Corporation has reported 15% revenue growth to $2.0 billion in the first quarter 2003, with earnings per share (EPS) rising to 39 cents, a 22% increase from the same period last year.
The rise in revenues is mainly due to the firm's Western Union business, part of its Payment Service division, which saw the total number of global branches rise to 159,000, an increase of 28% from last year.
Transaction growth for Western Union was also up 28%, with revenue growth up to 27%. Consumer-to-consumer money transfer transactions, which account for nearly 80% of Western Union's cash transfer revenue, increased 23%.
Overall, Payment Services achieved Q1 revenue growth of 19% to $853 million. Profit margins increased one per cent to 33% from a year ago and operating profits were $281 million, a 22% increase over first quarter 2002.
The firm's Card Issuing Services operation posted revenues of $524 million, a 16% year-over-year growth. But operating profits of $76 million continued to decline as a result of decreasing sub-prime business, additional depreciation and amortisation expenses from a recent system redesign and increased investments in international markets.
Merchant services grew revenue 12% for the first quarter to $697 million while operating profits increased eight per cent to $154 million.
First Data announced last week that it was to acquire US elctronic funds transfer company Concorde for $7 billion. If approved, the merger could increase the firm's combined annual revenues to approximately $10 billion.