DENVER — First Data Corp., the transaction processor, reported second-quarter earnings per share of 61 cents, a 17% increase over the same period in 2000.

Net income increased 13% over the same period last year, to $245 million. Operating margins in its three largest business segments — payment services, merchant services, and card-issuing services — each exceeded 20%. The company generated approximately $300 million in free cash after capital expenditures.

Ric Duques, chairman and chief executive officer, said that despite the fact that “the economy stinks,” First Data is on track to reach its projection of 13% to 16% revenue growth for 2001, and earnings per share growth in the range of 14% to 17%. “We are not immune to economic fluctuations, but despite all these pressures, our business is performing very well,” he said.

First Data’s payment services division, largely made up of Western Union, represented more than 40% of First Data revenue for the quarter.

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