Credit data firm Experian's profit beats on U.S. mortgage market boost

(Reuters) - Credit data firm Experian Plc EXPN.L on Tuesday posted a better-than-expected operating profit for the first half, buoyed by strength in the U.S. mortgage market and demand for its Ascend platform.

The world’s largest credit check company, which currently has 96 million consumer free memberships, also forecast a 3-5% growth in current-quarter organic revenue after posting growth at the top end of its guidance range for the last quarter.

Record low interest rates, ordained by the U.S. Federal Reserve to reinvigorate a pandemic-hit economy, has spurred a wave of home-buying in the country as they make mortgage rates more attractive. In mid-June, home loan costs hit a record low.

Organic revenue in North America jumped 7% in the six months ended Sept. 30, the Dublin, Ireland-based company said.

“While COVID-19 has significantly impacted the macroeconomic environment, it has also catalysed trends which play to Experian’s strengths.”

Experian, which runs credit data checks for people and assists lenders in managing credit risks, posted earnings before interest and taxes of $648 million for the half-year period, which is above the $630 million estimated by analysts.

The company said it signed new clients for its Ascend platform, which integrates client data, industry-specific data feeds and analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, with the product now live in nine countries. Its cumulative total contract value has reached $347 million.

In its latest quarterly report, rival Equifax EFX.N reported revenues of over $1 billion for the first time on the back of strong demand for data and analytics during the pandemic.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich