South Portland-based Wright Express Corp. saw profits drop year-over-year, down to $12.1 million in the first quarter of this year.
That was down from $18.6 million in the same quarter a year ago.
Wright Express uses fuel-price derivative instruments to mitigate financial risks associated with the variability in fuel prices in North America, and the company’s first-quarter 2011 results include an unrealized $20.8 million pre-tax, non-cash, mark-to-market loss on these instruments, according to a Wednesday release.
“During the quarter, corporate purchase card volume increased 68 percent, which drove an associated revenue gain of 80 percent. In addition, while maintaining low attrition and credit loss rates through our ongoing focus on customer service, we saw domestic payment processing transaction volume grow 6 percent,” said Michael Dubyak, chairman and CEO. “Moreover, higher fuel prices contributed to our results during the quarter. The strength we are seeing across our business underscores our continued positive outlook for the business for 2011 and beyond.”
Also in the first quarter, Wright announced the acquisition of rapid! PayCard, a privately held Tampa, Fla., company that provides payroll debit cards, e-paystubs and e-W2s, marking the Maine firm’s push into that business segment.
The first-quarter profits were on revenues of $120 million, up from $83 million in the first quarter of 2010.
“Given the strong results during the first quarter, we are increasingly confident in our ability to deliver solid performance as we head into the second quarter. We are raising our guidance for the full-year 2011 to reflect the strength we saw during the first three months of the year, coupled with higher fuel prices, a lower tax rate and a stronger Australian dollar,” said Steve Elder, senior vice president and chief financial officer.
For the second quarter of 2011, Wright expects revenue in the range of $132 million to $137 million. For the full year 2011, the company expects revenue in the range of $533 million to $553.
Wright Express has more than 870 employees in six countries, with subsidiaries including Wright Express Financial Services, Pacific Pride and Wright Express International, as well as Wright Express Prepaid Cards Australia and Wright Express Fuel Cards Australia.
It trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WXS, and closed at $55.18 on Tuesday.