Debt buyer Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc., a Norfolk-based company, reported Tuesday that its first-quarter profits soared 52% from the year before as it continued to expand its reach nationally and in the United Kingdom.

PRA posted net income of $38.6 million in the quarter, up 52% from $25.5 million in the year-ago period. The company said its quarterly revenue totaled $169.6 million, up 21% from a year earlier.

"PRA began 2013 the same way we ended 2012, reporting record, year-over-year results," said CEO Steve Fredrickson. "This quarter we produced across-the-board growth in cash collections, revenue and net income, which again drove return on average equity over our target of 20%. Our investment in new U.S. and UK portfolios of consumer debt surpassed even our extraordinary Q4 2012 level of acquisitions."

Fredrickson said the company has acquired $414 million in new accounts over the past six months - an amount, he said, "that will drive revenue and income for years to come."

The company said it collected $275.5 million in the latest quarter, 26% more than in the first quarter of 2012. Bankruptcy court trustee collections, the largest category, accounted for $109.2 million of the latest quarter's total.

The company further noted that it made $214.9 million in portfolio purchases in the quarter, including $126.9 million of U.S. customer accounts and $1.4 million of UK accounts - along with $86.6 million in U.S. bankruptcy court claims. The company acquired 91 separate portfolios during the quarter from 13 different sellers.

PRA also noted that during the first quarter it purchased an additional 19% interest in Claims Compensation Bureau LLC, a Conshohocken, Pa.-based company that helps clients recover class-action claims, and now owns 81% of that company.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry