Equifax profits plunge amid breach fallout

Equifax acting CEO Paulino do Rego Barros testifies during a Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee hearing in Washington D.C. on Wednesday Nov. 8 2017

Equifax profits plunge amid breach fallout

Equifax on Friday issued a fourth-quarter profit outlook that fell short of Wall Street expectations, saying the massive breach of its consumer data earlier this year would hurt sales and result in costs of $60 million to $75 million during the period.

Opening a conference call Friday, interim CEO Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. apologized again for the breach, and said executives will not be receiving bonuses.

The credit bureau is also facing more than 60 government investigations from states, USA federal agencies and the British and Canadian governments, the earnings report revealed.

The company said Thursday that it had recorded $87.5 million in costs related to the breach in the last quarter. The estimated costs of the free consumer services alone could be up to $110 million, Equifax predicted.

"We recognize that we have an important journey in front of us to regain the trust and confidence of consumers and our business customers". "We can not assure that all potential causes of the incident have been identified and remediated and will not occur again", it said in a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That includes the costs to investigate the hack, legal fees and expenses for offering consumers free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection to its US consumers. Social security numbers, identification, addresses and personal information held by Equifax and the two other, major credit agencies is used to determine a person's creditworthiness.

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Equifax's latest financials lay bare the costly fallout from the embarrassing security breach that exposed 143 million customers' privates in the USA and 15.2 million in the UK.

"Certain of our customers have determined to defer new contracts or projects unless and until we can provide assurances regarding our ability to prevent unauthorized access to our systems and the data we maintain", Equifax said.

Shares of Equifax, which reported after the closing bell, were down a penny in aftermarket trading at $108.94.

Adjusted for one-time costs, such as hacking- and merger-related expenses, Equifax said it earned $1.53 per share, topping analysts' average estimates by 4 cents. It has slumped 24 percent since the hack was disclosed.

That beat analysts' consensus forecast of $1.49 per share, according to Zacks Investment Research. That database wasn't affected by the breach, Equifax has said.

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