NCR Corp. said its sales remain strong despite the ongoing turbulence in the financial industry, and its chief executive said the wave of consolidation among banks could further increase revenue, because some of the Dayton, Ohio, automated teller machine maker's customers are among the companies buying up rivals.
"Generally speaking, banks whose consumer strategies have been more reliant on lending are the ones being subsumed now," Bill Nuti, NCR's chairman and CEO, said Thursday during a conference call with analysts to discuss its third-quarter results.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., and Wells Fargo & Co. are among NCR's top customers, he said, and having them acquiring weaker firms "could be a net significant positive for us."
NCR said its 9% revenue growth in the Americas from a year earlier, to $620 million, was primarily driven by an increase in sales to financial institutions.
Mr. Nuti acknowledged that bank consolidation could lead to a consolidation of ATM locations and potentially slow NCR's business, "but it is not showing up today, at least, in our funnel or in the strength of our orders."
Even if two former rivals had branches on the same street corner, the merged bank might still need to have the same number of ATMs, Mr. Nuti said. "The number of transactions doesn't go down because banks are consolidating."
Banking companies such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have also been more aggressive in adopting ATMs with check imaging capabilities than some of the competitors they are buying, Mr. Nuti said, so these deals could lead to additional sales of more advanced machines.
He also expressed high hopes for NCI Ltd., a British maker of software for branch and teller cash recycling, which NCR acquired in August.
The purchase has given NCR a foothold in the branch automation business, Mr. Nuti said. "We intend to have very good success coming out of the chute here in 2009 in that environment."
NCR reported Thursday that its third-quarter net income grew 51%, to $80 million, and that its revenue grew 8%, to $1.4 billion.
Revenue in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region increased 4%. Revenue in the Asia Pacific and Japan region increased 14%, driven mainly by strong sales of ATMs in China and Japan.
NCR said the results for third quarter of last year included one-time charges of 21 cents a share to retrench its manufacturing, spin off its Teradata Corp. database unit, and restructure its Japanese operations.
Excluding special items, NCR reported earnings of 55 cents a share, which topped the average estimate of analysts by 12 cents.
NCR also raised its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $1.67 to $1.72 a share, compared with its earlier forecast of $1.62 to $1.67. It said it anticipates full-year revenue growth of 8% to 9%, rather than the 6% to 8% growth it had previously projected.
The strong quarterly results didn't help NCR's stock on Thursday. Its shares fell 5.87% from Wednesday's final price to close at $15.40, on a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.02%.
Gil B. Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities, said that he expects continued strength from NCR.
"Banks are still buying ATMs. Banks, big national banks, are retrenching around retail banking," said Mr. Luria, who has a "strong buy" rating on NCR shares.
"Gathering deposits is their bread and butter," Mr. Luria said. "To do that, they need a strong ATM network."