First Data Corp., an international electronic payments processor, said its sales were steady in the first quarter, but generated a loss overall.

The firm said it had a loss in the quarter of $231 million, greater than the $221.7 million it had in the same period last year. It attributed the loss in part to adverse impact of the strong U.S. dollar and lower royalties.

Excluding currency effects and a change in royalty revenue, earnings were down 6 percent, the Denver-based firm said.

Segment results

The firm said its retail and alliance services operating profit was $54 million, compared with $83 million in the first quarter of 2008. First Data said it added 117,000 merchant locations in the quarter.

Its Financial Services division’s revenue was $544 million, down 3 percent, while earnings were $158 million, down 6 percent. Operating profit was $76 million, compared with $90 million in the same quarter a year ago.

International revenue was $369 million, down 16 percent. Its operating profit was $6.6 million, down 66 percent from $19.4 million a year earlier.

Its Integrated Payment Systems division revenue was $3.3 million, down 93 percent from $45 million a year ago. IPS had an operating loss of $2.5 million, compared with a profit of $34.0 million a year ago.