Strong fourth-quarter earnings for French terminal maker Ingenico SA signal good news for the payments industry, and likely for Europe's economy overall.

Indeed, Ingenico's strong quarter and year-end numbers are encouraging, considering the economic roller coaster Europe has been on the past year, says Gil Luria, analyst with Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities.

"The terminal business is holding up, and that's very good to hear, especially with strong business across most of the regions for Ingenico," Luria says.

Steady revenue growth in Europe and Latin America helped Ingenico overcome the slightest of dips in North America and Asia to record an 18.4% increase in fourth-quarter revenue, to $429.3 million for the period ended Dec. 31 from $362.6 million during the same period the previous year.

The company did not report fourth-quarter net income totals. But for the year the terminal maker says it generated a net profit of $75 million, up 47% from $51 million in 2010.

"Even in an unsettled macroeconomic environment, Ingenico has achieved impressive operating performance," Philippe Lazare, Ingenico's chairman and chief executive, said in a press release.

North American revenue dipped slightly, to $36.6 million from $36.9 million.

"The United States in particular has not always been a strong focus for up-to-date products from Ingenico," Luria contends. "But now, after many years, they finally have products geared to the U.S. market."

Ingenico announced in November its intentions to focus sales in North America with the terminals supported with Trilium software.

Through company reorganization, Ingenico added a "central operations" region for revenue reporting for 2011. Central operations includes internal development and production of terminals sold to sales subsidiaries and to entities not yet assigned to a profit center.

Ingenico placed Xiring, a French company specializing in secure transactions in the health care market it acquired in 2011, in the central operations category.

Central operations reported $17.3 million in revenue for the fourth quarter.

Earlier this year, Ingenico cited the acquisition of German payments-services provider Easycash and expansion into Belgium as key drivers behind the company's revenue boost.