Alliance Data raises forecast after 4th-qtr beat

Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:17am EST

* 4th-quarter core earnings $1.84/share vs est $1.80

* 4th-quarter revenue $972 mln vs est $943.9 mln

* Sees 2013 core earnings $9.65/share

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Alliance Data Systems Corp's quarterly profit beat estimates, helped by higher sales in its private-label credit card business, and the company raised its 2013 earnings forecast.

"In a stagnant market, our portfolio of credit card receivables ended the year up over 30 percent, which sets the stage for a robust 2013," Chief Executive Ed Heffernan said in a statement.

The company, which provides private-label credit card services to retailers, expects full-year core earnings of $9.65 per share on revenue of $4.2 billion.

It had forecast earnings of $9.50 on revenue of $3.9 billion.

Alliance Data's fourth-quarter profit rose to $84 million, or $1.27 per share, from $66 million, or $1.12 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.84 per share.

Revenue rose 15 percent to $972 million, boosted by a 23 percent rise in the private-label credit card business.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.80 per share on revenue of $943.9 million.

Alliance Data shares, which have risen 6 percent this month, closed at $153.45 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. They touched an all-time high of $158.78 last week.

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