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After Baltics divestiture, First Data still eyeing growth in Europe

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After Baltics divestiture, First Data still eyeing growth in Europe

First Data Corp.'s recently announced divestiture of its subsidiaries in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia should not spark downsizing concerns in Europe, CFO Himanshu Patel said.

There are markets in Europe that are highly attractive to the company, and First Data will "be investing more in those areas than we've done before," Patel said during a call to discuss second-quarter earnings.

Chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano added that opting to divest the Baltics business was "very clear" as the company evaluated noncore assets.

"We look at how to run our European franchise in a way to grow merchants, keep our partners and ourselves completely aligned and bring more tools to that market," he said. "You'll watch us put more money into them and continue to grow them."

First Data reported 3% year-over-year revenue growth in its global business solutions segment to $1.1 billion. Within the segment, in North America, revenue was partly offset by the anticipated decline in joint venture revenue. But Patel said the company posted slightly better joint venture revenue growth in the second quarter than in the first quarter.

"They're obviously the weak point in the business right now," Patel said. "It's hard to say that the JV revenue headwind that's been happening in the business for two quarters is going to turn around tomorrow."

But Patel said he believes the worst for joint venture growth has passed, and that the segment should start to stabilize in the latter half of the year.