Data firm Experian forecasts shaky 2021 on COVID-19 disruptions

(Reuters) – Experian Plc, the world’s biggest credit data company, said on Wednesday it expects COVID-19 restrictions to hurt its full-year performance as the pandemic wreaks havoc in its main markets, including North America.

The blue-chip company forecast first-quarter organic revenue to decline by 5% to 10% if current trends continue throughout the period and said April revenue fell by 5%.

“We have also seen significant volatility in foreign exchange rates during the current crisis and in particular a weakening of the Brazilian real,” the company said.

Experian said its executive directors would take a 25% salary cut for six months as the data firm navigates a tough phase in managing costs.

The London-listed company’s annual statutory pretax profit fell 1.6% to $942 million for the year ended March 31, below analysts’ average estimate of $1.24 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Experian and its smaller peers — Equifax Inc and TransUnion — generate credit reports and scores based on consumer borrowing and payment habits, including bankruptcies and court judgements.

The company, whose credit reports are used by banks, automotive dealers, healthcare providers and retailers, said full-year statutory revenue rose 6.5% to $5.18 billion.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.