SHORT HILLS, N.J. (AP) -- Dun & Bradstreet Corp.'s shares sank in extended trading Monday after the company reported that its fourth-quarter profit came in below market expectations, hindered by weakness in its North American business.
The company, based in Short Hills, N.J., makes money selling credit and business data to financial firms, government agencies and others.
Dun & Bradstreet earned net income of $96 million, or $2.20 per share, for the period that ended Dec. 31. That compares with $93.4 million, or $1.93 per share, a year ago. It earned $2.38 per share on an adjusted basis, excluding one-time items.
Total revenue fell 7 percent to $463.1 million. Its total revenue for the prior year includes results from businesses that were sold or shut down. After adjusting for those, its revenue fell a more modest 1 percent.
Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting the company to earn $2.46 per share on revenue of $477.9 million.
The company's Chairman and CEO Sara Mathew said that 2012 proved to be a challenging year and Dun & Bradstreet was not satisfied with its top line performance. However, she said the company is pleased with the completion of its new data supply chain and will make substantial investments in data and analytics in the future to drive growth in North America.
For 2012, the company earned $295.4 million, or $6.43 per share, on revenue of $1.66 billion.
Dun & Bradstreet said it expects its earnings per share to increase 8 to 11 percent for the 2013 before any charges. It expects its core revenue for the year will increase 0 to 3 percent, before the effect of foreign exchange.
Analysts forecast 2013 earnings per share of $7.90 on revenue of $1.71 billion, on average.
The company also said it plans to continue to make an effort to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, including consolidating vendors or eliminating funding for activities with little return on investment. The company expects to find $70 million to $80 million through these measures in 2013 and expects to incur pretax restructuring charges totaling $17 million to $22 million related to the initiatives.
Shares sank $4.78, or nearly 6 percent, to $80.51 in after-hours trading on the news. Its shares increased 79 cents to close regular trading at $85.28.