Despite strong growth in its international operations, Global Payments Inc. said currency exchange rates have forced it to lower its revenue and profit guidance.
Analysts said the Atlanta processor's overall performance outweighed the lower guidance, and one upgraded Global Payments' stock.
Paul R. Garcia, its chairman and chief executive, said that his company's efforts to expand abroad are paying off, and that he plans additional acquisitions in several regions.
"We are not immune to broader economic trends. However, we are quite fortunate to have a number of favorable factors helping to offset these trends," he said in a conference call Tuesday to discuss Global Payments' earnings in its fiscal second quarter, which ended Nov. 30.
Mr. Garcia spoke highly of his company's international prospects, particularly its pending acquisition of the Russian acquirer and processor ZAO United Card Services. He defended that deal as a risk worth taking.
"It's not without risks," he said. "Russia is a challenging part of the world, but I do think it's well worth that risk." The $120 million price is "a big bet for us, but I will go on record as telling you I am very pleased with this deal, and I am confident that the advantages we will get from being a first mover in Russia far outweigh the risks."
For future acquisitions, Global Payments is focusing on China, India, and Russia, which he said are small card markets where his company is "laying the foundation for solid businesses."
In its second quarter, Global Payments' revenue grew 30% from a year earlier, to $401.1 million. Its net income rose 28%, to $48.9 million.
Global Payments lowered its full-year revenue guidance to a range of $1.55 billion to $1.58 billion, versus an October forecast of $1.64 billion to $1.68 billion. It also expects to post diluted earnings per share of $2.14 to $2.21, versus an October forecast of $2.37 to $2.45.
HSBC Merchant Services, a joint venture with HSBC Holdings PLC in the United Kingdom, generated $55 million of revenue for Global Payments during the second quarter, Mr. Garcia said. His company's revenue from international merchant services, which include Europe and Asia-Pacific but exclude Canada, rose 192%, to $95.1 million.
Analysts said Global Payments performed well in the quarter, given the tough economic conditions.
Thomas C. McCrohan, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, wrote in a research note published Wednesday that the company's "long-term growth opportunities remain intact, particularly the global growth in economies with currently low penetration rates" for cards.
He upgraded its shares to "buy," from "neutral."
Sanjay Sakhrani, an analyst at KBW Inc.'s Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., wrote in a research note, "Despite a tough macroeconomic backdrop, [Global Payments'] results were generally good."
Tien-tsin Huang, an analyst at JPMorgan Securities Inc., wrote in a research note that the decision to lower guidance was predictable. "We weren't surprised by the negative revision … but the magnitude was greater than we had anticipated."
Global Payments' appetite for further international acquisitions makes sense, even though a slowdown in retail sales has hurt its transaction growth, Mr. Huang wrote. "We continue to believe there are bank processing assets available and think" Global Payments "is very well positioned to add scale/share while rivals are distracted."