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Published: Sat, November 11, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Equifax profit slumps after data breach, still tops views

Equifax profit slumps after data breach, still tops views

Atlanta-based Equifax reported a 3 percent drop in its USA revenue in the third quarter to $308 million, but was able to make up the difference and then some from its worldwide services, resulting in an overall 4 percent increase in revenue to $835 million.

In an investor call, interim CEO Paulino do Rego Barros outlined steps he said the company was taking to improve security practices and compensate members of the public whose information was stolen.

"As we report our third quarter results, we recognize that we have an important journey in front of us to regain the trust and confidence of consumers and our business customers", Barros said in a statement. Revenues, however, were up four percent at $834.9 million. The company also said it's facing more than 240 class-action lawsuits and more than 60 regulatory or governmental inquiries.

The hack resulted in a one-time charge of $87.5 million for investigation and legal costs as well as offers of free credit monitoring to all U.S. citizens. Equifax has agreed to provide the TrustedID Premier credit monitor to all US consumers free for one year.

Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017. The breach attracted scrutiny from lawmakers in Washington and criticism from consumers and banks, igniting a debate about the role credit bureaus play in lending.

"The Equifax breach in particular exposed the limits of the Federal Trade Commission's ability to protect (consumers) and impose penalties on companies that treat our data with negligence and recklessness", said U.S. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Wednesday, during the hearing.

Equifax reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.53 per share, which topped analyst expectations by 4 cents. It has slumped 24 percent since the hack was disclosed.

All told, the company said Thursday that its net income fell to $96.3 million, or 79 cents per share, for the three months ended September 30.

That beat analysts' consensus forecast of $1.49 per share, according to Zacks Investment Research. The FREE Act would also prevent credit reporting agencies from profiting off of consumers' information during a freeze, enhance fraud alert protections, and provide the opportunity for consumers to receive an additional free credit report following the Equifax data breach. That database wasn't affected by the breach, Equifax has said.

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