After the market closed today Visa (NYSE: V ) announced its net income rose by 26% in the quarter ending March 31 -- the second quarter of its 2014 fiscal year -- to $1.6 billion. Its earnings per share rose from $1.92 during the second quarter of the 2013 fiscal year to $2.52 in the most recent quarter, a gain of 31%.
A major reason behind this growth was a realized tax benefit of $218 million. Visa noted that excluding this benefit its earnings per share stood at $2.20, still delivering a gain of 15% over the prior-year period. In total the company saw its revenue increase by 7% to $3.2 billion, however the strengthened value of the U.S. dollar negatively affected its earnings growth by 2 percentage points. In total, its income before taxes rose 11% to $2.1 billion.
"Our underlying business drivers remained strong during the fiscal second quarter with payments volume continuing to grow at solid levels," noted the CEO of Visa, Charlie Scharf, in the earnings announcement. "As expected, softer net revenue growth was affected by a strengthening U.S. dollar and difficult year-over-year comparisons due to non-recurring items."
In total, on a constant dollar basis -- which excludes currency impacts -- Visa saw its payments volume increase by 12% in the second quarter to $1.1 trillion and its total transactions also increased by 11% to 15.4 billion.
In addition the company noted it had repurchased $1.1 billion worth of its common stock during the first three months of 2014 at an average price of $217.61 per share. Its shares outstanding have fallen by roughly 4% over the last year, from 660 million to 634 million.
Visa also updated its expectations for the full 2014 fiscal year, suggesting on a constant dollar basis its revenue growth is expected to be between 10% and 11%. It was more vague in its previous release, suggesting revenue growth would be in "low double-digits."
The firm also raised its outlook on its annual operating margin. While Visa was not specific, the firm noted its annual operating margin was expected to be in the "low to mid 60s," up from the expectation of it being in the "low 60s."
Scharf concluded his remarks by noting, "We continue to make substantial investments in products and services that will drive our future growth, while enhancing our financial institution and merchant client relationships."