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Total System 1Q Profit Slips 4.9% On North American Weakness

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Total System Services Inc.'s (TSS) first-quarter profit edged down 4.9% as its main North American segment continued to lag behind faster-growing international and merchant services segments. Revenue grew slightly faster than forecast. Total Systems, which makes technologies to support consumer finance credit and debit cards for financial institutions, has benefited from slightly improved consumer spending trends of late. A Credit Suisse analysis said momentum continues to build for the company to show a recovery in the second half as new portfolios come online. The company in January bought the remaining minority interest in First National Merchant Solutions LLC, a joint-venture direct merchant acquirer and transaction processor with First National Bank of Omaha. Total System said the business, rebranded TSYS Merchant Solutions, will help it pursue its diversification strategy. Total System posted a first-quarter profit of $48.8 million, or 25 cents a share, down from $51.3 million, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 3.9%, to $429.4 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 25 cents on revenue of $423 million. Revenue for North American services declined 9.3%, to $230.6 million, while international services revenue rose 14%, to $90.7 million, and merchant services sales surged 33%, to $115.8 million. Shares edged up 0.2%, to $19.10 in after-hours trading. The stock has gained 15% over the past 12 months through the close. -By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909; Andrew.FitzGerald@dowjones.com

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