WEX Inc., a corporate payment-processing company, posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and said its results would exceed Wall Street expectations through the rest of the year as it expands internationally and strengthens its domestic operations.

For the first quarter, the South Portland-based company reported earnings of $41.6 million, or $1.06 a share, compared with $39.8 million, or $1.02 a share, in the same period a year ago. The results exceeded analysts’ expectations of $1.04 a share.

Revenues for the quarter rose 10.1 percent to $182.1 million, from $165.4 million a year ago. The results topped Wall Street forecasts of $174.05 million.

“We’re executing on a bunch of different areas” WEX CEO and President Melissa Smith said in a telephone interview. “We’re seeing accelerating growth on the fleet part of our business. On the virtual side, we’ve had pretty major contract signings and growth in our travel business. We’re seeing more growth on international, compounded by a strong base in our U.S. business.”

The company said it saw higher than expected credit losses as some customers took longer to pay their bills.

Separately, WEX said it has signed a deal with ExxonMobil to manage the customer service, collections and processing of the Esso Commercial Fleet Card in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau, and the Mobil Fleet Card in Guam and Saipan.

“This new business agreement builds upon our existing relationship with ExxonMobil in the U.S., Canada and Europe,” Smith said. “Expanding our international footprint and extending our product suite in the Asia-Pacific region are critical components of our long-term growth strategy.”

The ExxonMobil deal expands WEX’s fleet operations to the Asia-Pacific region, where it already has virtual card operations.

Smith said WEX is “actively looking” at acquisition opportunities in Brazil, the Asia-Pacific region, especially Southeast Asia, as well as Europe and North America.

For the second quarter, WEX expects revenues to be in the range of $190 million to $197 million and adjusted net income in the range of $47 million to $50 million, or $1.20 to $1.27 per share. That tops the Wall Street consensus forecasts of earnings of $1.19 a share and revenues of $189.5 million.

For the full year, the company expects revenues to be in the range of $767 million to $787 million and adjusted net income to be in the range of $185 million to $193 million, or $4.75 to $4.95 per share. The forecasts compared with the Wall Street consensus forecast of earnings of $4.83 a share on revenues of $764.33 million.

Shares of WEX closed Wednesday at $95.97, up $3.85, or 4.18 percent. The stock has gained about 25 percent in the past 12 months.

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

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