South Portland-based Wright Express Corp. reported $20.6 million in profit and revenue of $100.2 million for the third quarter in documents filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In 2009, the company reported third-quarter profit of $23.4 million and revenue of $85.8 million.

Wright Express CEO Michael Dubyak said the company had roughly a 3 percent increase in sales to its 285,000 fleet customers. He said sales in nearly every region of the country increased, except on the West Coast, where sales were flat.

“It is indicative of what we are seeing in our core fleet program, which is showing positive signs across key drivers,” Dubyak said. “If the economy stays stable and grows, we feel very bullish.”

Wright Express’ primary business is processing automotive fleet fuel purchase transactions and helping customers capture and analyze detailed fuel and maintenance information.

Dubyak said the company was pleased with the performance of its MasterCard corporate charge card business, which helps clients, including online travel agencies such as Priceline.com, buy travel products from suppliers — hotels, for example.

Purchase volume in that division jumped 50 percent, to $1.3 billion in the third quarter, up from $1.04 billion in the second quarter and $876 million for the third quarter of 2009.

Dubyak said he expects Wright Express to hire more employees in 2011, including IT staff and employees in the MasterCard division.

Since the beginning of this year, Wright Express has increased its total staff from 708 to 884. The company now employs 568 Mainers, up from 551 in January.

Wright Express also raised its earnings guidance, projecting fourth-quarter profits between $26 million and $29 million and full-year profits between $104 million and $107 million.

In January 2009, the company projected 2010 profits of $89 million to $97 million.

Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or at:

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