First Data reported that fourth quarter net income rose 14% to $401.6 million on revenues of $2.2 billion. The increase was driven by an 18% rise in “Merchant Services” revenue, and a 13% gain in “Payment Services” revenues. However, “Card Issuing Services” revenues declined 1% in 4Q/03 to $518.1 million, and operating profits for the quarter declined 16% to $84.6 million. Merchant Services operating profits increased 24% during 4Q/03 to $244.8 million. Merchant transactions grew 20% for the quarter. Payment Services, comprised primarily of Western Union, produced fourth quarter operating profits of $323 million, a 13% increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2002. For the full year, Western Union and ValueLink, combined, handled more than one billion transactions, up 26%. Consumer-to-consumer, consumer-to-business and prepaid transactions grew 19%, 12% and 32%, respectively during 2003. Merchant Services transactions were 12.2 billion last year, up 23%. Card Issuing Services completed 41 separate client conversions totaling nearly 36 million accounts. The pipeline of accounts to be converted is approximately 70 million accounts, with all of the accounts scheduled for conversion by the end of 2004. At year-end, accounts on file were 348 million. For 2004, FDC expects revenue growth of greater than 20% due to the Concord EFS merger. FDC said this morning it expects the Concord acquisition to close on February 27th. For complete details on First Data’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).