Earnings Surge At First Data

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DENVER - (101/5/04) -- Payments processing giant First DataCorp. said net income for its third quarter soared 28% to $460.6million, or 54 cents a share, fueled by the continued growth of itsWestern Union money transfer unit. Third quarter revenues rose 21%to $2.5 billion, with Western Union reporting a 13% rise in incometo$861 million. Revenue for the company's merchant services unitsurged 47% in the quarter to $983 million. As a result, First Datasaid net income soared 40% for the first nine months of the year to$1.4 billion, or $1.67 a share. During the third quarter Fist Datarepurchased 28.4 million shares for $1.2 billion at an averageprice of $42.34 a share, and the board has authorized an additional$1.5 billion in new stock buybacks.

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