Equifax reported results that showed growth in key mortgage and verification segments even as it continued to reserve for costs related to the 2017 data breach that exposed the records of roughly 145 million Americans.
In terms of headline numbers, the company said adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.53, better than the $1.49 that had been expected, and gaining 11 percent year over year.
Total operating revenues were $906 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, up 8 percent and better than the $896 that had been expected by analysts.
Equifax said it took a $99 million charge for legal proceedings and settlements tied to the 2017 data breach.
The U.S. Information Solutions Segment
Drilling down into the numbers, and into various segments, the U.S. Information Solutions (USIS) segment showed total revenues of just under $331 million, which was up 8 percent year over year, and within that unit, Online Information Solutions was also up 8 percent for the quarter as measured year over year, to $227 million.
Non-mortgage related revenues in the segment were up 3 percent year on year.
The mortgage solutions business was up 19 percent, to $32.5 million. Equifax management noted on the conference call that inquiries were up 21 percent. Management also said on the earnings call that mortgage inquiries might be flat headed into 2020, but should not be taken as a proxy for revenue trends in that segment.
“We feel good about accelerating USIS non-mortgage organic growth in 2020,” said CEO Mark Begor, who added elsewhere in his remarks to analysts that Equifax is returning to a normalized growth rate in the wake of the 2017 hack.
Within the Workforce Solutions segment, total revenues were up 22 percent to $250.2 million. That was driven by a 33 percent boost in Verification Services, which in turn contributed $193.6 million to the top line.
International revenues were flat, as noted in the earnings announcement and in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Management said on the call that the company has reached an “important turning point” in its efforts to bring more operations and services into the cloud. Past commentary has pointed to the ability of the cloud and “network fabric” to move data safely and securely between the company and its end customers. Management also said on the call that new deals signed in 2019 were up 25 percent, while the pipeline for new deals has increased by 15 percent.