By Jim Finkle and Aparajita Saxena
(Reuters) - Equifax Inc on Friday warned that this year's massive data breach will harm the credit reporting company's future sales, saying it will reduce revenue and weigh on profit in the fourth quarter.
Businesses and governments delayed signing new contracts in the third quarter and that trend will continue in the current quarter, company executives said in an analyst conference call.
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"We're hoping to win back their trust and then be able to regain the business that we've indicated has been deferred," Chief Financial Officer John Gamble said in the call. "We're still working through that process."
Executives discussed the impact of the breach after releasing third-quarter results late on Thursday. Equifax reported lower quarterly profit, and revenue that fell short of analyst estimates.
The company also said on Friday that it had halted a share buyback program.
"We just don't think it's appropriate for the company to be purchasing shares" in the midst of investigations into the breach, Gamble said.
Equifax shares were down 2.3 percent in morning trading. They have dropped around 25 percent since the company disclosed on Sept. 7 that cyber criminals had breached its systems and accessed sensitive information on 145.5 million consumers.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto and Aparajita Saxena in Bengalaru; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)