October 3, 2017 / 8:15 AM / 2 years ago

France's Worldline raises targets as acquisitions pay off

(Reuters) - French payments company Worldline SA (WLN.PA) has raised its revenue and profitability targets for 2017-2019 thanks to increased business from its acquisitions.

The sector has seen a wave of consolidation as payment firms become targets for credit card companies and banks looking to capitalize on a switch from cash to payments by smartphones or other mobile devices and as regulatory changes promise to open up the fragmented market.

Recent deals have included company Vantiv’s VNTV.N takeover of Worldpay WPG.L and Hellman & Friedman’s bid for Nets NETS.CO.

“Worldline intends to pursue its growth by capturing opportunities created by regulation changes like PSD2 and Instant Payments, as well as by large new processing outsourcing opportunities and cross-border acquiring contracts,” Chief Executive Gilles Grapinet said in a statement.

Grapinet added that the company intends to “actively participate” in consolidation in the European payment industry.

Worldline, which said in July it bought Digital River World Payments and First Data Baltics, also said on Tuesday it has agreed to buy 100 percent of payment service provider MRL PosNet in India for up to 89 million euros ($104.1 million).

MRL PosNet, which employs approximately 140 engineers, operates a terminal management platform and currently processes payment transactions on behalf of 18 Indian banks.

Worldline, 70 percent owned by French IT services firm Atos SE (ATOS.PA) according to Thomson Reuters data, now expects organic revenue growth in the range of 3.5-4 percent in 2017, and rising to 6-8 percent in 2019.

The payments firm also forecast operating margin before amortization and depreciation (OMDA) of more than 22.5 percent in 2019 and free cash flow in the range of 230 million euros to 245 million euros ($269.6-$287.2 million) in 2019.

In November last year the company said it expected free cash flow of 210 million euros to 230 million euros in 2019, organic revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 5 and 7 percent for 2017-2019.

Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Louise Heavens

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