McGraw Hill profit beats estimates as S&P shines

Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:19am EDT

(Reuters) - Standard & Poor's owner, McGraw Hill Financial Inc (MHFI.N), reported a higher-than-expected 56 percent jump in quarterly profit due to strong growth at the rating agency and S&P Dow Jones indices.

The company, which also raised its full-year adjusted profit forecast, said net income from continuing operations jumped to $235 million, or 84 cents per share, in the third quarter from $151 million, or 53 cents per share, a year earlier.

The rise comes as the company is fighting a $5 billion U.S. government lawsuit that accuses Standard & Poor's of misleading investors by inflating credit ratings on risky mortgage-backed securities before the housing crash.

The company, whose rivals include Moody's Corp's (MCO.N), Moody's Investors Service and Fimalac SA's (LBCP.PA) Fitch Ratings, raised its 2013 outlook to an adjusted profit of $3.25 to $3.30 per share from $3.15-$3.25.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 80 cents per share from continuing operations in the quarter ended September 30.

Total revenue rose 7 percent to $1.19 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 77 cents per share on revenue of $1.17 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue from the company's commercial and commodities businesses, which include the Platts brand, rose 7 percent to $255 million. Revenue from its S&P Dow Jones indices grew 14 percent to $124 million.

Revenue at S&P Ratings increased 8 percent to $540 million, driven by an increase in bank loan ratings.

The 125-year old company's shares, which have risen about 19 percent in the last three months, closed at $69.79 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

(Reporting by Neha Dimri and Tanya Agrawal in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sriraj Kalluvila)