Alliance posts lower Q4 profit

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Business services company Alliance Data Systems posted lower fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, including merger and other costs.

Alliance Data said net income fell to $33.9 million, or 42c per share, from $39.6 million, or 48c per share, a year earlier.

Alliance filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against private equity firm Blackstone Group to force it to complete its proposed $6.76 billion acquisition of the company. Blackstone has said the deal could be in jeopardy due to onerous regulatory conditions placed on it by the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Fourth quarter revenue rose 15% to $602.7 million from $524.5 million a year earlier.

Cash earnings per diluted share rose 33% to 93c per share compared with 70c per share a year earlier.

Analysts on average had looked for earnings of 93c on revenue of $603.66 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Alliance Data said it expects to continue to achieve double-digit organic growth in both operating and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) during 2008, consistent with previously announced goals.

Adjusted EBITDA for the 2008 year is expected to be in excess of $700 million, the company said.

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