* Says to continue cutting costs, may cut jobs
* Q4 EPS $0.31 vs $0.34 yr ago
* Q4 rev up marginally to $434.8 mln
* Co expects 2010 EPS from cont ops between $0.95-$0.97
* Shares fall 14 pct after the bell (Adds conference call details)
By Brenton Cordeiro
BANGALORE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - TSYS (TSS.N) posted a drop in quarterly profit hurt by lower revenue from electronic payment processing services and forecast full-year earnings below market estimates, sending its shares down 14 percent in trading after the bell.
On a conference call with analysts, the payment processor said it will freeze bonuses, salaries and new hiring, effective immediately.
TSYS said it reduced its overall workforce by about 5 percent in 2009, and plans to cut about the same number of jobs in 2010.
"While 2010 is going to be a challenging year, we will continue to work aggressively to reduce our costs, including reducing staff," Chief Executive Philip Tomlinson said in a statement.
For the full year, the payment processor expects earnings from continuing operations of between 95 cents and 97 cents a share. It sees revenue in the range of $1.62 billion to $1.65 billion in 2010.
Analysts were expecting the company to report a profit of $1.20 per share in 2010, excluding items, on revenue of $1.75 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"The problem ... is the U.S. market for all practical purposes has been dead in 2009. We had no significant wins in the U.S. which will contribute to 2010 revenues," Tomlinson said on the call.
Clients continue to delay projects or have stopped them altogether, and organic growth "has been anaemic at best," he added.
However, the company added it saw huge amounts of opportunities outside the United States.
"It is going to cost us some margin short-term, but we believe we need to strike while the iron is hot," a company executive said on the call. For the fourth quarter, TSYS reported net income of $60.2 million, or 31 cents a share, compared with $66.3 million, or 34 cents a share last year. Total revenue rose marginally to $434.8 million, up $2.1 million from a year ago.
Analysts on average were looking for a profit of 30 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $435.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of the company were down about 14 percent at $14.71 in trading after the bell on Wednesday. They closed at $17.01 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
For all the alerts, please double-click [ID:nWNAB6217] (Editing by Anil D'Silva)