Equifax profit beats Street view as breach costs climb

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(Reuters) – Equifax Inc (EFX.N) on Thursday reported quarterly results ahead of Wall Street forecasts, even as the consumer credit agency posted $26.5 million in costs related to last year’s massive data breach.

The company posted quarterly per-share profit of $1.39, beating the average analyst forecast of $1.35, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 5 percent from a year earlier to $838.5 million, beating the average forecast of $825.7 million.

Equifax disclosed earlier on Thursday that it had discovered an additional 2.4 million U.S. consumers were affected by the cyber attack, bringing the total number of people whose data was compromised to more than 147 million.

Executives are scheduled to discuss the results and investigation into the data breach during a conference call with analysts early on Friday.

The newly identified victims had their names and partial driver’s license information stolen, though hackers did not obtain their Social Security numbers, Equifax said in a statement.

FILE PHOTO: Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo

The company said it has so far recorded breach-related expenses of $114 million, net of insurance recoveries. The cyber attack, which was first disclosed in September, has triggered investigations by governments around the world, lawsuits and the departure of several Equifax executives..

Thursday’s disclosure of additional victims drew criticism from some politicians and consumer advocates.

The U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation plans to obtain more information on the newly identified victims, said the group’s chairman, Republican John Thune.

“The company should have acted sooner to mitigate the impact on these additional affected consumers,” Thune said in a statement. “Equifax needs to put consumers first and shouldn’t be trying to clean up its mess in a piecemeal fashion.”

Equifax said it would contact the newly identified breach victims and offer them free identity theft protection and credit monitoring services.

The company’s shares fell 1.3 percent at $111.50 in New York Stock Exchange trade that closed before the results were released. That was in line with a decline in U.S. stocks.

Reporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto and Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr, Meredith Mazzilli and Daniel Wallis