Robust performance in the U.S. independent sales organization channel and benefits from international acquisitions helped bolster Global Payments Inc.'s fiscal first-quarter results despite difficult economic conditions, according to the Atlanta-based payments processor. Global payments posted net income of $57.8 million for the fiscal first quarter ended Aug. 31, up 0.5% from $57.5 million during the same period a year ago. The processor posted fiscal first-quarter revenue of $441.3 million, up 8.7% from $405.8 million a year earlier. "Macroeconomic conditions have caused our average ticket amounts to decline across all of our geographies compared to prior year, with the U.S. experiencing the greatest decline in average ticket," Paul Garcia, Global Payments chairman and CEO, told analysts during a conference call yesterday. "The U.S. trend continues to be driven by a combination of weakened consumer spending, the industry shift of increasing debit transactions and the continued addition of merchants with smaller average tickets through our ISO channel," he said. Global Payments experienced U.S. transaction growth of 20% during the fiscal first quarter, said Garcia. While the processor does not break out credit and debit transactions, Garcia noted that debit is growing "a little bit" faster than credit. "A little more than half of our transactions combined are signature debit and PIN, and still PIN debit is substantially below 10% of our total transactions," he said. The processor's North America Merchant Services segment posted revenue of $303.9 million, up 6.0% from $286.6 million during the fiscal first quarter last year. A strong performance from Global Payments' ISO channel and "some modest U.S. pricing initiatives" offset unfavorable Canadian currency-exchange rates in the North American segment, said Garcia. U.S. merchant-services revenue for the fiscal first quarter reached $222.8 million, up 11.0% from $200.7 million last year. Canada posted revenue of $81.2 million, a decrease of 5.5% from $85.9 million last year. Global Payments' acquisition in June 2008 of HSBC's UK business contributed to a 28.7% revenue increase to $105.9 million from $82.3 million last year for the International Merchant Services segment. United Card Services in Russia also "performed better than anticipated," said Garcia. Within the segment, Europe posted revenue of $80.5 million, up 30.7% from $61.6 million last year. Asia-Pacific revenue grew 23.2% to $25.5 million from $20.7 million in part due to the September 2008 addition of the Philippines.

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