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Worldline agrees $85 million First Data deal, raises 2017 targets

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Worldline agrees $85 million First Data deal, raises 2017 targets

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(Reuters) – French payments company Worldline on Tuesday announced the acquisition of payment processor First Data Baltics and raised its 2017 targets after posting an 11 percent jump in first-half operating profit. Worldline said it signed an agreement with First Data Corporation to acquire its Baltic subsidiary for about 73 million euros (65.19 million pounds), financed by available cash. The acquisition is the latest in a string of deals in the sector and Worldline’s second this year after buying Swedish rival Digital River World Payments this month. “Beyond these two first transactions in 2017, the Group sees an unprecedented level of M&A opportunities in the payment space, notably in Europe,” Chief Executive Gilles Grapinet said in a statement. The First Data purchase is expected to close in the third quarter and Grapinet added that Worldline aims to agree several other deals by year-end. Worldline now expects its operating margin before depreciation and amortisation (OMDA) for the 2017 financial year to surpass its previous target range of 20.0-20.5 percent. It did not indicate by how much it expected to exceed the original target. First half OMDA was up 11.2 percent at 153.3 million euros. The company also said it expects annual revenue to grow by between 3.5 percent and 4 percent, up from its previous 3.5 percent forecast, and predicts 2017 free cash flow above 170 million euros, against previous guidance of between 160 million euros and 170 million euros. It said the raised guidance did not include any contribution from Digital River World Payment and First Data Baltics and will be updated after those transactions close.

(Reporting by Wout Vergauwen; Editing by David Goodman)
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