MONTREAL - Aimia Inc. (TSX: AIM) is increasing its quarterly dividend by a penny per share even though the operator of the Aeroplan loyalty rewards program also reports an 8.3 per cent decrease in its net earnings per share in the first quarter.
Aimia said after markets closed Monday that its net profit rose to $45.7 million from $44.7 million in the same 2012 quarter, but on an earnings per share basis that amounted to 22 cents versus 24 cents in the year-earlier period.
However, total revenue rose 7.4 per cent to $609.5 million from $567.7 million as it upped the dividend to 17 cents from 16 cents, an increase of more than six per cent.
The dividend is payable June 28 to shareholders of record on June 14 and, based on Aimia's closing price Monday of $15.98 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, would produce an annual yield of 4.25 per cent.
"This quarter our consolidated top line was bolstered by a solid increase in the gross billings from the sale of loyalty units, which represents nearly three-quarters of our total gross billings," said chief executive Rupert Duchesne.
"In particular, the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region was very strong in the first three months of this year. We are on track for 2013 and look forward to many successes in the balance of the year across our global operations, including Canada, with respect to the negotiation of our financial partner contract renewals."
First quarter gross billings the EMEA region were $173.7 million, representing an increase of 20.8 per cent compared with the same period of 2012.
Beside Aeroplan, Aimia also operates Nectar, the United Kingdom's largest coalition loyalty program.
The company, which employs more than 4,000 people in over 20 countries, also has stakes in Air Miles Middle East, Nectar Italia, Mexico's leading coalition loyalty program, Club Premier, Brazil's Prismah Fidelidade, and i2c, a joint venture with Sainsbury's offering insight and data analytics services in the U.K. to retailers and suppliers. It also has a minority position in Cardlytics, a U.S.-based private company operating in transaction-driven marketing for electronic banking.