(Reuters) - Global Payments Inc <GPN.N> will not know for weeks the cost of a cyber theft revealed Friday, executives of the credit card payment processor said, but they stood by their earlier estimate that no more than 1.5 million cardholder account numbers were compromised in the data breach.
The comments came on Monday as the company reported quarterly earnings that just missed analysts' estimates due to higher expenses. Its shares fell more than 3 percent in morning trading after dropping 9 percent on Friday.
Executives said it would be weeks before they could estimate the impact of the break-in on coming financial results. They repeated their statement from Sunday that the data breach was confined to North America and affected no more than 1.5 million credit cards, a figure considerably less than some analysts had feared.
"We have a high degree of confidence in that number," Chief Executive Officer Paul Garcia said in a conference call with stock analysts after the earnings report.
The Atlanta-based company posted net income of $57.92 million, or 73 cents per share, for the third quarter ended February 29, compared with $47.78 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose 17 percent to $533.5 million.
Excluding items, Global Payments earned 83 cents a share. Analysts on average were expecting 84 cents a share on revenue of $529.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Global Payments said on Friday that it had found "unauthorized access" into its system early in March.
Payment network operators MasterCard Inc <MA.N>, Visa Inc <V.N>, American Express <AXP.N> and Discover Financial Services <DFS.N> have confirmed they were affected, which could expose their cardholders to fraudulent charges.
Visa has dropped Global Payments from its list of approved service providers.
Global Payments is one of dozens of companies that operate along the payment-processing chain. They are targeted by hackers because of the vast amount of sensitive financial information they handle.
The company backed its revenue and earnings outlook for the year.
Shares of Global Payments were down 3.5 percent at $45.80 in morning trading.
(Reporting by Jochelle Mendonca and Sharanya Hrishikesh in Bangalore and David Henry in New York; Editing by Supriya Kurane and Lisa Von Ahn)