Financial results at two point of sale terminal makers are improving, in large part because of increasing global demand for electronic payment systems.
Hypercom Corp. reported a $624,000 fourth-quarter profit, its third consecutive profitable quarter. It reported a $74.8 million loss for the fourth quarter of 2008.
Revenue fell 2.6% year over year, to $117.4 million. Hypercom cited the termination of a low-margin service contract in Brazil last year and lower product revenue from the Americas and Southern Europe for the decline.
Hypercom, which announced its results Monday, reported a $6.9 million loss for 2009, much narrower than its $85.4 million loss in 2008. Revenue fell 6.3%, to $406.9 million.
VeriFone Holdings Inc. reported a $10.6 million profit for its fiscal first quarter that ended Jan. 31, a reversal from the $182.6 million loss a year earlier. Revenue increased 4.4%, to $223.4 million.
VeriFone said sales rose in every global region but Latin America, where revenue fell 6.9%, to $40.6 million. The Asia-Pacific region had the strongest sales growth, 16.9%, to $23.8 million. Revenue from the U.S. and Canada was $89.6 million, up 6.9%.
Hypercom's chief executive, Philippe Tartavull, said the Scottsdale, Ariz., company is trying to expand into several regions. For example, it said it has re-entered the Brazilian terminal business after exiting the service contract last year. Three merchant acquirers in Brazil have certified Hypercom's products, it said.
"We're going to spend a lot of focus and time to make sure that we capitalize on those opportunities," Tartavull said.
He also said sales in the U.S. are picking up. "We already see stronger activity than last year, and we believe we can add market share by developing verticals where we do not have a significant presence today," he said during a conference call with analysts.
Hypercom's efforts were a good sign for Gil Luria, vice president of equity research at Wedbush Securities Inc., a Los Angeles equity research firm. In a note to clients, he said "Hypercom is on its way to sustained and improving profitability."
Luria expects Hypercom to post low-double-digit revenue growth for 2010 and gain market share in Europe, the U.S. and Brazil.
Luria was also pleased with VeriFone's results.
"VeriFone is well positioned to regain double-digit growth as continued improvement in the global economy reignites the payment terminal industry," he said.
VeriFone got a boost from its PayWare mobile phone payment service that uses Apple Inc.'s iPhone.
"What we're finding with our first class of iPhone users, and there's many that are up and live, is that these are surprisingly high-ticket transactions, $100 to $200 per average ticket," VeriFone CEO Douglas G. Bergeron told analysts during a conference call Tuesday to discuss the company's results.
However, he said the volume is low, with not more than 20 transactions a month. VeriFone would not say how many merchants are using the service.
In addition to being available from traditional POS-equipment resellers, the PayWare module will be sold at Apple's retail and online stores beginning this month, Bergeron said.
About 70 independent sales organizations also are selling PayWare, he said.
VeriFone announced PayWare Mobile in December. The product is an online payment gateway and card reader that attaches to the iPhone, enabling merchants to complete card-present transactions through the mobile device.
Transactions made with Payware Mobile are sent via the iPhone's Wi-Fi or telecommunications connection to VeriFone's gateway for routing to appropriate processors.
Andrew Jeffrey, an analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in Atlanta, wrote in a research note that VeriFone will increase in value "as the company moves beyond a pure hardware model."
Though VeriFone is in the early stages of this transition, Jeffrey said its hardware business will continue to buoy VeriFone's near-term results for the next few quarters.