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Heartland Payment raises full-year guidance

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) -- Payment processor Heartland Payment Systems Inc. said Tuesday that its net income surged 45 percent as it processed more transactions and expenses declined. The company also raised its 2012 earnings forecast, and its shares rose more than 5 percent in midday trading.

Heartland said net income rose to $17.8 million, or 44 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30. That was up from about $12.3 million, or 31 cents per share, during the same quarter a year ago.

Stripping out stock-based compensation expense and other items, earnings climbed to 50 cents per share.

Revenue slipped 1 percent to $518.5 million from nearly $526 million.

However, the volume of transactions processed for small to mid-sized enterprises grew 6 percent to $18.6 billion. Expenses declined 3 percent to $488.8 million.

Chairman and CEO Robert Carr said the company's profit margin in the quarter exceeded the company's expectations as efficiency and productivity improved. New business in the quarter was the best in several years, he said.

The company, based in Princeton, N.J., now anticipates full-year adjusted earnings of $1.70 to $1.74 per share, before deducting 22 cents per share of share-based compensation, after taxes. That's up from Heartland's earlier projection of $1.59 to $1.63 per share. Revenue is now expected to range from $540 to $545 million, up from previous guidance of $530 million to $540 million.

Shares of Heartland rose $1.52, or 5.1 percent, to $31.11 in midday trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $18.45 to $34.

Heartland on Tuesday also declared a quarterly dividend of 6 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Sept. 14 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 24.