Equifax warns on post-breach costs, revenue hit

Equifax acting CEO Paulino do Rego Barros testifies during a Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee hearing in Washington D.C. on Wednesday Nov. 8 2017

Equifax acting CEO Paulino do Rego Barros testifies during a Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee hearing in Washington D.C. on Wednesday Nov. 8 2017

"We recognize that we have an important journey in front of us to regain the trust and confidence of consumers and our business customers".

The Atlanta-based company said it recorded $87.5 million in expenses related to the hack during the quarter, including legal fees, investigation of the breach, and free credit monitoring for USA consumers whose data was exposed in the breach.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin sent a letter Thursday to Interim CEO of Equifax, Paulino do Rego Barros Jr.

"Expenses include costs to investigate and remediate the cybersecurity incident and legal and other professional services related thereto, all of which were expensed as incurred", said Equifax.

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Executives at the credit-reporting company blamed the expected revenue decline on delays in contract signing from business and government customers, which began in the third quarter and continued into the current quarter.

The credit agency traced the data breach to a software flaw that was detected in March. Total operating expenses rose 15 percent from a year earlier to $681.9 million.

Free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection subsequently offered to all USA punters from September, cost $4.7m (recorded in the consumer support expenses mentioned above) but will range between $56m and $110m in total - customers have until the 31 January to sign up to this. The breach attracted scrutiny from lawmakers in Washington and criticism from consumers and banks, igniting a debate about the role credit bureaus play in lending. "And to date, we do not have any evidence that we can probably add problem activity to data stolen from Equifax".

Equifax shares dropped 1.2 percent to $107.65 at 4:47 p.m.in late NY trading after the announcement.

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Equifax executives are scheduled to take questions from analysts during a conference call on Friday at 8:30 a.m.in NY.

Equifax's net income of $96.3 million was down 27% from $132.8 million a year ago and more than 71% from $165.4 million in the second quarter. "Even if that number fails to capture those Equifax has directly notified because state law mandated it, or because their credit card information was part of the information compromised by the breach, it remains quite possible that millions of individuals do not know for certain if their information was exposed".

Equifax reported third-quarter revenue of $834.8 million, missing analysts' average estimate of $845.94 million, according to I/B/E/S Thomson Reuters.

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