Experian, the world's biggest credit data company, reported an 8% increase in annual earnings, beating expectations, as it benefited from acquisitions and improved margins.

Experian, best known for running consumer credit checks for banks, landlords and retailers, said its earnings before interest and tax rose to $1.31 billion. 

Analysts had expected earnings of $1.24 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

However, Chief Executive Don Robert said, that the World Cup in Brazil, which will divert attention from the company's consumer services, and changes to Experian's North American consumer business would constrain growth in the first half.

"We expect a return to more normal levels of organic revenue growth as the second half of the year progresses. We expect at least to maintain margins for the year, to deliver growth in earnings per share and to exceed 90 percent cash flow conversion," Mr Robert said in a statement.

The company, which holds credit information on over 740 million consumers and 70 million businesses worldwide, said it had had a year of good growth, with progress in all regions and across all its businesses.

Total revenue growth was 7% at constant currency rates. 

Experian raised its full-year dividend by 8% to $0.37 per share.