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(Reuters) - McGraw Hill Financial Inc MHFI.N, owner of credit rating agency Standard & Poor's, posted an 18 percent rise in quarterly profit as it earned more from a surge in corporate debt issuances and its S&P Dow Jones indices.
The company, which is fighting a $5 billion fraud lawsuit lodged by the U.S. government, increased its 2013 profit forecast and said it expected global debt issuance to remain robust.
Earlier this month, a federal judge denied the company's request to dismiss the lawsuit, allowing the government to pursue claims that S&P manipulated ratings to boost profit, and in doing so, concealed credit risks and conflicts of interest.
McGraw Hill, which has denied the government's allegations, said on a post-earnings call that it was difficult to estimate a timeline on when the case would go to trial as the government continued to refine its allegations against the company.
McGraw Hill's strong second-quarter results mirror those of rival Moody's Corp (MCO.N), which reported a 31 percent jump in profit on Monday.
"We believe that if interest rates rise due to improvements in GDP growth and lower unemployment, it could be positive for issuance," said S&P President Douglas Peterson on the call.
Peterson will take over from current Chief Executive Harold (Terry) McGraw, who retires on Nov 1.
The company, formerly known as McGraw-Hill Cos Inc, said it expects an adjusted profit of between $3.15 and $3.25 per share for 2013, up from $3.10 to $3.20 per share.
Second-quarter net income increased to $254 million, or 91 cents per share, from $216 million, or 76 cents per share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, the company earned 92 cents per share from continuing operations.
Total revenue rose 17 percent to $1.25 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 82 cents a share on revenue of $1.19 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue at S&P Ratings increased 24 percent to $599 million, driven by corporate and structured debt issuance.
Revenue from the company's commercial and commodities businesses, which include the Platts brand, increased 8 percent to $259 million, while revenue from its S&P Dow Jones indices grew 39 percent to $123 million.
The 125-year old company, which still has about two dozen lawsuits pending against it, agreed on Wednesday to sell the Aviation Week journal to Penton Media as it looks to focus on its core financial information assets.
The company sold its TV stations in 2011 and its textbook business this year.
McGraw-Hill shares, which have gained over 12 percent since the company reported first-quarter results, were up 2.6 percent at $61.03 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Tanya Agrawal and Varun Aggarwal in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty