Visa Inc. Tops Expectations as Earnings Jump 15%

After the market closed today Visa (NYSE: V  ) announced its earnings per share stood at $2.17 in the third quarter of its 2014 fiscal year, a 15% gain over the same period last year.

The driving forces behind the growth came from gains in its data processing and service revenues, which rose by $130 million and $119 million, respectively. However these were partially offset by the fact Visa reported a sizable increase in its client incentives, the fees it pays to financial institutions in an effort to build the volume of its payments, which rose by 23%, or $117 million.

In total its revenue rose by 5% to stand at $3.2 billion. In addition Visa also recognized a 3% decline in its operating expenses, which fell by $38 million to stand at $1.1 billion.

Visa's net income rose 11% to stand at $1.4 billion. The reason for the higher percentage gain in its earnings per share was the fact the company has seen its shares outstanding fall by 3.7% over the last year. It has continued to repurchase its shares, and $1.2 billion of repurchases were made in the most recent quarter. Based on the current authorization from its board of directors, it still has $1.9 billion of share repurchases available.

"We are pleased to report 15% earnings-per-share growth in the face of a continued, subdued global economy," said the CEO of Visa, Charlie Scharf, in the earnings announcement. "As expected, revenue growth was affected by a strong U.S. dollar and tepid growth from cross-border transactions. More importantly, global payments volume and processed transactions remained healthy and strong."

Visa saw its worldwide total volume grow by 9.9% on a constant dollar basis to stand at $1.8 trillion. Interestingly enough, its credit volume in the U.S. grew 12%, whereas its international growth stood at 9.7%. However on the debit side of things, international growth was up 11%, and U.S. growth was up 7.1%.

Perhaps the one sign of concern for investors came when Visa updated its revenue growth expectation to between 9% and 10% versus the previously announced 10% to 11%. However it did note it anticipates its earnings-per-share growth will be between 17.5% and 18.5%.

"While some of the headwinds will likely continue in the short-term, we are confident our investments in products such as Visa Checkout, new technologies like tokenization, and new relationships with financial institutions and merchants will continue to drive double-digit revenue growth over the long-term," Scharf said to conclude his remarks.

According the 30 analysts polled by Yahoo! Finance, the $2.17 in earnings per share seen in the second quarter topped the average expectation of $2.10 per share.

While the slight lowering of guidance may cause some investors concerns, the third quarter of its 2014 fiscal year marked another strong one for Visa.

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