Heartland Payment 1Q profit up, beats Street

NEW YORK (AP) -- Heartland Payment Systems' first-quarter net income climbed 42 percent, buoyed by improving card processing volumes.

The payment processor also provided a full-year outlook above Wall Street's view, and its shares touched an all-time high Tuesday.

For the three months ended March 31, Heartland's net income attributable to its shareholders rose to $19.6 million, or 51 cents per share. That compares with $13.8 million, or 34 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding stock-based compensation expense and other items, earnings from continuing operations were 41 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected 40 cents per share.

Revenue increased 7 percent to $501.2 million from $467.6 million. Wall Street forecast revenue of $511.5 million.

Small and mid-sized enterprise transaction processing volume rose 3.8 percent to $17.3 billion.

New margin installed, an indicator of new business, climbed 10.1 percent.

Thomas McCrohan of Janney Capital Markets said in a client note that the new margin installed increase is a significant ramp up from the fourth-quarter's 1 percent rise. The analyst maintained a "Buy" rating.

The Princeton, N.J., company foresees 2013 adjusted earnings between $2.29 and $2.33 per share. Analysts expect earnings of $1.94 per share.

Its board also declared a quarterly dividend of 7 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on June 15 to shareholders of record on May 24.

Heartland Payment Systems Inc.'s stock rose $1.68, or 5.4 percent, to $33 in midday trading. Earlier in the session the shares touched $34.26, a new all-time high.