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Visa (V) Beats on Q4 Earnings and Revenues, Guides for 2018

Riding on higher revenues, Visa Inc. V reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 (ended Sep 30, 2017) earnings of 90 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.9%. Also, the bottom line improved 14% year over year.

Results were driven by continued growth in payments volume, cross-border volume and processed transactions.

Strong Performance

Net operating revenues of $4.9 billion surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.6 billion. Also, revenues climbed 14% year over year. This upside was primarily driven by the acquisition of Visa Europe and consistent growth in payments volume, cross-border volume and processed transactions.

Visa Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

On a constant dollar basis, payments volume growth for the reported quarter was up 10% year over year to $1.9 trillion. Cross-border volume growth, on a constant dollar basis, was also up 10% for the quarter. Total Visa processed transactions increased 13% over the prior year to $29.2 billion.

Service revenues surged 20% year over year to $2.1 billion on payments volume in the prior quarter. Notably, other revenue components are based on the reported quarter’s activity. Data processing revenues were up 16% on a year-over-year basis to $2.1 billion, while international transaction revenues surged 20% to $1.8 billion. Other revenues increased 3% year over year to $226 million.

Client incentives of $1.3 billion represented 21.7% of net operating revenues in the reported quarter.

Operating expenses remained unchanged year over year at $1.6 billion. Excluding special items related to the takeover of Visa Europe, operating expenses grew 8% year over year.

Foreign exchange rate shift negatively impacted earnings per share growth by approximately 2%.

Balance Sheet Strengthens

Cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sale investment securities were $9.9 billion as of Sep 30, 2017, up 77% year over year.

Total assets were billion as of Sep 30, 2017, up 6.3% year over year.
In the third quarter, the company generated adjusted free cash flow of $2.57 billion, up 11.2% year over year.

Dividend and Share Repurchase Update

Visa repurchased shares worth $1.7 billion during the quarter and paid $390 million in dividends.

2018 Guidance

Visa provided guidance for fiscal 2018. It expects annual net revenue growth of high single digits on a nominal dollar basis, with approximately 0.5% to 1% of positive foreign currency impact; client incentives as a percentage of gross revenues from 21.5% to 22.5%; annual operating expense growth in mid-single digits adjusted for special items in fiscal 2017; an effective tax rate of about 29%, earnings per share (EPS) growth of mid-40s on a GAAP nominal dollar basis, and high end of mid-teens on an adjusted, non-GAAP basis (EPS includes approximately 1% to 1.5% of positive foreign currency impact).

Our Take

Visa’s results reflect robust performance. The company remains well positioned for growth on the back of a solid market position, increase in payment volumes, accretive acquisitions and significant opportunities from its secular shift toward electronic payments.

Other Stocks

American Express Co. AXP, Discover Financial Services DFS and Alliance Data Systems Corp. ADS from the same space also came out with flying colors, with the bottom lines beating their respective Zacks Consensus Estimate in the third quarter.

Visa carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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