Progress Nelnet at Hudl, 2.13

Nelnet on Thursday reported third-quarter earnings that were down from a year ago.

Nelnet on Thursday reported third-quarter earnings that were lower than a year ago.

The Lincoln-based financial company said it earned net income of $33.2 million, or $0.83 per share, compared with $42.9 million, or $1.05 per share, for the same period a year ago.

That missed analysts' expectations by 12 cents a share, and the company's stock fell slightly Thursday in after-hours trading.

Nelnet said most of the decline in earnings was due to costs associated with paying off debt early.

Nelnet CEO Jeff Noordhoek said the debt reduction was a good business move.

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"Extinguishing certain securitizations early has been a great decision, we were able to refinance the loans with more favorable terms, earn better returns on the freed up capital, and generate additional liquidity that can be used to invest in superior customer experiences and long-term growth and diversification," he said in a news release.

Income when adjusted for derivative market value and foreign currency transactions also was lower for the company, coming in at $37.5 million, or $0.94 per share, for the third quarter, compared with $46.9 million, or $1.14 per share, for the same period in 2018.

Among its business segments, Nelnet saw lower income in asset generation and management, and higher income in loan servicing and systems and education technology, services and payment processing.

Its Allo Communications subsidiary continued to lose money in the third quarter, with a net loss of $7.2 million, although that was down from $7.7 million a year ago. Nelnet expects Allo to lose money for the foreseeable future as it continues to build out capacity and expand territory.

On a positive note, revenue increased to $16.5 million for the third quarter, up from $11.8 million a year ago, and Allo added about 12,700 customers, a 39% increase over the past 12 months.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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