Shares in Experian were down on the FTSE 100 in early trading despite the company delivering a "comfortable" set of full year results and announcing a $300 million share buyback programme.
The credit agency said that its revenue in the full year to 31 March increased two per cent to $3.9 billion, while profit before tax attributable to Experian's owners increased eight from $486 million to $600 million.
In addition Experian said it had reduced its net debt by $483 million to $1.6 billion. The group said it would be paying a second interim dividend of 16.00 cents per share, making for a full year dividend of 23.00 cents per share, up 15 per cent from the previous year.
Experian also said that it would be raising future dividend payouts with a new £300 million share buyback programme.
John Peace, Chairman of Experian, said, "Experian has again delivered an excellent financial performance. In light of our ongoing strong cash generation, we are today announcing an increased dividend payout and a share buyback. Experian has considerable opportunities for future growth which it is pursuing with vigour and with focus and I look forward to further progress over the coming year."
Don Robert, Chief Executive Officer of Experian, said, "Last year we grew revenue, strengthened our market position and delivered significant cost efficiencies, even though there were considerable economic headwinds in some regions. Looking ahead, we see signs of gradual recovery in some of our key markets and we expect a modest contribution from our strategic growth initiatives over the course of the year. For the first half, we expect organic revenue growth to be slightly stronger than the FY10 exit rate. For the year as a whole, we are targeting mid single-digit EBIT growth (from continuing activities at constant currency) and strong cash generation. Longer term, we see significant opportunities to grow and to capitalise on our globally leading position."
Keith Bowman, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, commented,
"A transformation at Experian continues, with investors reaping increasing rewards. Expansion in Latin America has more than offset tough traditional markets, whilst diversification away from financial services has also aided performance. Like so many companies, cost cutting has played its part, with group debt reduction and strong cash flow underpinning a marked step-up in investor returns (+15pc dividend and a $300m share buy-back programme).
"On the downside, business remains flat in the group's biggest market, North America, whilst exposure to credit markets continues to provide some uncertainties. Nonetheless, investors are likely to draw comfort from today's results, with both product and geographical diversification providing long term growth foundations. As such, market consensus opinion continues to denote a buy."
By 08:48 shares in Experian were down 0.90 per cent on the FTSE 100 to 603.50 pence per share.