ATLANTA - First Data Corp. has reported record earnings for 2000 of $2.14 per share before a nonrecurring charge, a 21% increase from a year earlier.

Revenue rose 13%, to $5.7 billion. Net income climbed 15%, to $884 million.

The company took a $21 million after-tax writedown on losses from its investment in Excite@home. "Everyone gets irritated over nonrecurring charges," said Ric Duques, chairman and chief executive officer of First Data, in a conference call. However, for the three-year period from 1998 through 2000, the net returns for nonrecurring items was positive, he said.

The company's Western Union agent locations grew 21% worldwide, and operating profits rose 18%. Charlie Fote, president and chief operating officer, said that the Western Union division represented approximately 40% of the company's revenues and 45% of its profits. He predicted strong growth for the unit this year.

First Data said several contracts signed in the last year increased its card processing businesses. Last year it converted nearly 50 million retail and bankcard accounts to its system, bringing its total to approximately 310 million. The company plans to convert an additional 40 million by 2003.

It renewed long-term contracts with a number of bank card issuers, including the Associates First Capital Corp. portfolio recently acquired by Citigroup Inc.

The company predicted per-share earnings this year to increase 14% to 17% from last year, to between $2.44 and $2.77.

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