Buoyed by an acquisition in Australia and growth in multiple divisions, South Portland-based Wright Express Corp. reported strong financial results Thursday.

In 2010, the company had revenue of roughly $390 million, up 24 percent from the year before.

Net income for the year, based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, dropped to $88 million, from $140 million in 2009.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, revenue jumped 38 percent from the same period in 2009, to $114.9 million. Fourth-quarter net income was $18 million, up from $12 million a year earlier.

CEO Michael Dubyak said the company’s large fuel hedges distort the accounting numbers, which include unrealized gains and losses. A better indication of the company’s health, he said, is adjusted net income, which increased 32 percent in the fourth quarter and 26 percent for 2010.

Wright Express stock jumped roughly $2 Thursday, to $52.19 per share.

In a media release, Dubyak attributed the results to strong customer sales and growth in the company’s payment processing, MasterCard and vehicle businesses.

“We ended 2010 with strong momentum,” he said. “During the year, we selectively invested in our business to enhance our competitive position and capitalize on compelling growth opportunities both domestically and abroad.”

In the fourth quarter, the company serviced 17 percent more vehicles and had double-digit gains in fuel transactions, payment processing and transaction processing. In addition, MasterCard purchase volume grew 54 percent, according to the media release.

The fourth quarter was the first full quarter since the acquisition of what is now Wright Express’ Australian division on Sept. 15. The Australian business generated $17.4 million in revenue in the fourth quarter.

Wright Express projects first-quarter 2011 revenue of $113 million to $118 million, and full-year 2011 revenue of $497 million to $517 million.

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

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

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