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FleetCor Technologies Inc (FLT) Q4 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

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FLT earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2020.

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FleetCor Technologies Inc (FLT -3.38%)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Feb 4, 2021, 5:30 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Greetings, and welcome to the FLEETCOR Technologies Fourth Quarter 2020 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]

I would like to turn the call over to our host, Mr. Jim Eglseder, Head of Investor Relations for FLEETCOR Technologies. Thank you. You may begin.

James P. Eglseder -- Head of Investor Relations

Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us today for our fourth quarter and full year 2020 earnings call. With me today are Ron Clarke, our Chairman and CEO; and Charles Freund, our CFO. Following the prepared comments, the operator will announce that the queue will open for the Q&A session. It is only then that you can get in line for questions. Please note, our earnings release and supplement can be found under the Investor Relations sections of our website at fleetcor.com.

Now, throughout this call, we will be presenting non-GAAP financial information, including adjusted revenues, adjusted net income, and adjusted net income per diluted share. This information is not calculated in accordance with GAAP and may be calculated differently than non-GAAP information at other companies. Reconciliations of historical non-GAAP financial information to the most directly comparable GAAP information appeared in today's press release and on our website as previously described.

Now, before we begin our formal remarks, I need to remind everybody that part of our discussion today may include forward-looking statements. These statements reflect the best information we have as of today. All statements about our recovery outlook, new products and acquisitions, and expectations regarding business development and future acquisition are based on that information. They are not guarantees of future performance and you should not put undue reliance upon them. These expected results are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from what we expect. Some of those risks are mentioned in today's press release on Form 8-K and in our annual report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC and available at sec.gov.

With that out of the way, I would like to turn the call over to Ron Clarke, our Chairman and CEO. Ron?

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Okay. Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for joining our Q4 earnings call. Upfront here, I will plan to cover four subjects. First, I'll provide my take on our Q4 finish. Second, I'll put a bow on full-year 2020. Third, I'll share our 2021 outlook, and lastly provide a bit of an update on our transformation plan, which is intended to accelerate the company's growth.

Okay, let me turn to our Q4 results. So today, we reported revenue of $617 million, that's down 12%, and cash EPS of $3.01, that's down 5% versus last year. These results both better than anticipated, volume recovered a bit more in the quarter than we forecasted and we did manage operating expenses down 14% against the prior year. Organic revenue growth overall minus 8%. But most importantly are the trends in Q4, really quite good. Sales strengthened to over 90% of last year's level. Same-store sales or client-volume softness improved to minus 6%. Credit loss is $6 million, although held by a reserve release and retention continued steady at 92%.

We did have a fantastic beyond highlight in Brazil in the quarter. We added 175,000 new urban or city users in Q4. That represents 30% of all the new tags we sold in the quarter. So demonstrates there's real demand among the Non-Toll segment in Brazil for this RFID purchasing network, including fueling, parking, and now even fast food locations. So look, the conclusion of Q4 is really in the sequential trends of the business. If you look at Page 7 of our earning supplement, you can see that every Q4 metric is improving from the Q2 low. Revenue up from $525 million to $617 million, cash EPS up $2.28 to $3.01, sales up from 55% to now over 90% of last year's level. Same-store sales volume getting better from minus 17% to minus 6%, credit losses from $21 million to $6 million, and then lastly retention holding steady at 92%. So to us, evidence that the business continues to recover from the earlier year lows.

Okay, over 2020. So from a financial perspective, 2020 not our best year. Revenue finished at approximately $2.4 billion, that's down 10% versus $19 billion, and cash EPS finishing at $11.09, down 6% against 2019. COVID and the shutdowns did manage the vanquish over $400 million of revenue that we planned in 2020, really in three ways. So first client softness, we had a number of COVID impacted clients that use less of our services. COVID reset the macro environment in Q2 driving down fuel prices and weakening international currencies. And then third, for a while, COVID reduced our 2020 new sales, mostly due to the market being distracted.

The good news is despite the fact that COVID is going, that we're still living with COVID is the financial impacts on us appear to be lessening. So we've now recovered in Q4 about half of the client softness revenue loss that we experienced in Q2. So half of it back already. Post the macro reset, we've seen relative stability in fuel prices and FX rates. And lastly, the demand for our service is clearly recovering as sales reached 90% of prior-year levels. So despite not having the greatest financial performance in 2020, we did manage to accomplish a few things.

So credit, I'm just delighted with our credit performance in 2020. Expenses, tough times but we did manage expenses down over 10% in Q2, 3, and 4. We signed four acquisitions in 2020. Our guys ran IT exceptionally well, had the best overall system uptime in the history of the company. And lastly, we were able to replan the business in the second half. We conducted a replanning exercise in the summer and the actuals came in a smidge better than the replan. So reminds us again that fleets of business you can plan. I really do want to give a shoutout to all FLEETCOR people who hung in there and kept the company going through very unsettling times.

Okay, let me make the turn to 2021 and outline our initial guidance for the year, along with the assumptions behind it. Clearly a higher beta in our 2021 numbers but we'd say that our setup is generally positive. So first, volume and revenue trends strengthening through 2020. So with the potential to continue that into '21. Sales production improving thus the amount we expect to get of end-year revenue from new business, and as I mentioned a bit ago, very solid client retention and credit trends.

We are also hopeful that we'll get additional client-softness recovery in '21, although we're the first to admit that that's hard to forecast. So in our guidance, we're planning to recover about one-third of our Q4 exit revenue softness that's still outstanding now. So if we get that, that recovery would provide about 4% to 5% of incremental revenue lift in the second half.

So with that, our guidance for '21 would be as follows. Revenue of $2,650,000,000 at the midpoint that reflects an 11% increase. Overall organic revenue in the same range kind of 9% to 13% but I do want to emphasize that assumes 3% to 4% of softness recovery from today's level. We're anticipating significant sales growth over 30% this year, which would be a record-level sales for the company and profit guide at the midpoint $12.40 of cash EPS for the core business. We are planning about $0.10 of dilution from the Roger acquisition, so that would put our consolidated number at $12.30 at the midpoint.

Lastly, assuming now May 1 close for the AFEX acquisition, accretion could be approximately $0.20 for the year. So if that happens on time, that could take consolidated cash EPS to $12.50. Chuck will speak further about how the guidance rolls out across the quarters, but I do want to point out that our guidance outlooks Q2, 3, and 4 revenue and profit growth to be back into the high-teens. Okay, let me transition now to my last subjects, which is the company's transformation plan. So really our transformation plan is intended to accelerate growth by doing two things. So first, the portfolio deciding what businesses we want to be in and not be and constantly reworking that to have a more diverse set of faster-growing businesses.

But the second way we transformed the company is through our Beyond strategy, which we do utilize in all four of our major existing businesses. So in this Beyond strategy, we're really trying to do two things. First, identify new segments of the market that we can extend the business into. So we ask who else can we serve, and then second, we identify additional or adjacent services that we can cross-sell back to the client base. So if you look at Page 11 of our earnings supplement, you'll see the current Beyond initiatives for each of our four businesses. We do continue to make progress against our Beyond strategy. Just an example to call out in our Lodging business in 2020. We now settled 25% of all proprietary hotel payments with our virtual card in which we earn interchange. So that's up from literally from 0% a few years ago.

But today, we begin implementation of maybe our most exciting Beyond initiative of all with the acquisition of Roger. So this begins the move of our Corporate Payments' business down market into the SMB space along with the opportunity to offer a full online bill pay to our global SMB fuel card base. You can see that on Pages 11 and 12 of our supplement. So this single bill pay initiative has the potential to dramatically accelerate growth rates in both our Corporate Pay and Fuel card businesses.

We feel like it's a pretty unique position that we're in, because of the special set of assets that we have. So a large global SMB client base numbering in the hundreds of thousands, we've got working SMB sales channels, they historically have acquired 30,000 new clients per quarter. We've got scaled virtual card processing capability, we generated over $30 billion in annualized spend last year, we've got a very large merchant database that allows us to monetize virtual card, and now we've got some modern cloud software to provide the bill-pay functionality, along with a pretty cool user interface. So look, in conclusion, today, I'm hoping to provide just a few away.

So Q4 again, not our best quarter from an absolute perspective, but clear evidence of improving trends in the business. 2020, we did manage to perform better as the year went on and certainly learned some new tricks around how to manage credits, expenses, IT, even sales onto remote environments. '21, again our setup we think looks pretty good. Only a slightly unfavorable macro to deal with, but improving trends coming into the year and certainly the wildcard that I mentioned of what happens with the incremental softness recovery. And lastly, transformation, our Beyond strategy now progressing providing some traction but today's online SMB bill pay initiative maybe the biggest of them all.

So with that, let me turn the call back over to Chuck to provide some additional details on the quarter and our outlook. Chuck?

Charles Freund -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Ron. For the fourth quarter of 2020, we reported revenue of $617 million, down 12%. GAAP net income down 11% to $210 million, and GAAP net income per diluted share down 6% to $2.44. The quarter was again affected by COVID-related business slowdowns, although we showed improvement over last quarter in most of our businesses. Adjusted net income for the fourth quarter of 2020 decreased 10% to $258 million, and adjusted net income per diluted share decreased 5% to $3.01. We continue to manage expenses in line with revenue performance. Please see Exhibit 1 of our press release for a reconciliation of all non-GAAP financial metrics.

Organic revenue in the quarter was down 8% overall, primarily due to same-store sales being down 6% year-over-year. Organic revenue neutralizes the impact of year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates, fuel prices, and fuel spreads and includes pro forma results for acquisitions closed mid-period. Our fuel category was down organically about 10% versus Q4 last year. Our domestic Fuel businesses were stable to improving in the quarter, whereas the international Fuel businesses were affected by the renewed COVID related closures, especially in Western Europe.

The corporate payments category was down approximately 6% in the fourth quarter. Approximately 6 points of decline was again driven by the 100 most-affected customers we discussed last quarter. Lower spending on our T&E product drove another 2 points of organic drag. Virtual card volumes were up 12% for the quarter, which was an improvement from flat last quarter as continued political spend and the benefit of new customers offset the drag from the highly affected customers. Cross-border or FX-related volumes were down 1% as payment volumes are still being affected by lower invoice levels, specifically in manufacturing and wholesale trade. Full AP continued to perform very well, with volume up 14%. New sales of Full AP were very strong as full-year 2020 sales were more than double 2019's results. We continue to invest here and have enabled 10 new ERP integrations in 2020, with plans for another 10 or so in 2021.

Tolls continue to be our most resilient business and grew organically 7% in the fourth quarter, up 4% from last quarter. Active toll tags were up 6% in the quarter, with urban tags accounting for 25% of all new tags sold during 2020. The lodging category was down 25% organically in the fourth quarter, with 20 points of drag caused by the inclusion of acquired airline Lodging businesses in the year-ago period. Our workforce Lodging business has improved with volumes down in the mid-single-digits. The airline lodging volumes have also improved in-line with flight activity but still remained well below last year's levels.

Looking further down the income statement. Our total operating expenses were down 14% for the fourth quarter of 2020 to $323 million. We performed in-line with the high end of our target reduction compared with the fourth quarter of 2019. The decrease was primarily due to lower volume-related costs, lower employee-related costs, including headcount, sales commissions, bonuses, and stock compensation. We also saw lower T&E expenses in addition to the impact of foreign exchange rates. As a percentage of total revenues, operating expenses were approximately 52.4%, or roughly 240 basis point improvement from last quarter.

Bad debt expense in the fourth quarter of 2020 was $6 million or 2 basis points, which includes a reserve release of $5 million. Bad debt was only 4 basis points excluding the reserve release. Our bad debt levels continue to be good and our aging roll rates remain very favorable. There is still uncertainty around the timing, level, and duration of government stimulus and various responses to increaseing COVID cases around the world. So that's still a consideration on our reserve.

Interest expense decreased 13% to $30.3 million, driven primarily by decreases in LIBOR related to the unhedged portion of our debt. This was partially offset by the impact of additional borrowing for share buybacks earlier in the year. Our effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 2020 was 20.3%, with the reduction from last year, driven primarily by incremental excess tax benefit on stock option exercises.

Now, turning to the balance sheet. As of December 31, 2020, we have approximately $1.9 billion of total liquidity consisting of available cash on the balance sheet and our un-drawn revolver at quarter-end. We ended the quarter just shy of $1.5 billion in total cash, of which approximately $542 million is restricted and consists primarily of customer deposits. We had $3.6 billion outstanding on our credit facilities and $700 million borrowed in our securitization facility. We remain committed to a consistent program of capital allocation, using our free cash flow for acquisitions and buybacks. In the quarter, we repurchased roughly 181,000 shares in-connection with employee sales. In total for 2020, we spent $850 million on share buybacks.

We believe that we have ample liquidity to pursue any near-term M&A opportunities, while still opportunistically buying back shares when it makes sense. For the quarter, we had approximately $23.4 million of capital expenditures and we finished with a leverage ratio of 2.67 times trailing-12 month EBITDA as of December 31st.

Now, let me share some thoughts on our outlook. Looking ahead, we're expecting Q1 2020 adjusted net income per share to be between $2.60 and $2.80, which at the midpoint is approximately $0.31 or 10% lower than what we reported in Q4 of 2020. About half of the difference is attributable to revenue seasonality. You see, while some of our businesses like Gift have seasonally strong fourth quarters, most of our businesses have seasonally weak first quarters. Of course, volume-related expenses will slightly offset this revenue seasonality impact.

Roughly a third of the difference is due to the normalization of certain expenses, for example in Q4 of 2020, we released $5 million of our bad debt reserve, which we do not expect to repeat in Q1. As sales performance has continued to recover throughout 2020, we expect bad debt to gradually increase sequentially as those customers' balances age. Additionally, when the impact of the COVID-related shutdowns became clear in 2020, we proactively reduced our annual incentive target payouts by 50% and accrued to those lower targets for the remainder of the year. As our business has recovered meaningfully, we plan to return incentive targets to 2021 to normal levels. We also expect our effective tax rate in Q1 of 2021 to be about 80 to 100 basis points higher than the rate we reported in Q4 of 2020. Lastly, the acquisition of Roger and incremental sales and marketing investments are slightly dilutive to the quarter sequentially.

Now, looking beyond Q1 to full-year 2021, we feel it's important to help you understand how we're thinking about the outlook and providing some ranges around possible outcomes even though, those ranges are a bit wider than what they have been in the past. For 2021, we are guiding revenues to be between $2.6 billion and $2.7 billion and adjusted net income per diluted share to be between $11.90 and $12.70 inclusive of the Roger acquisition. We're still faced with substantial uncertainty regarding the pace of economic recovery and the impact it will have on our financial performance. That said, we've developed a 2021 budget, which incorporates everything we know now, including revenue and expense run-rates, current macro-environmental factors, planned sales contributions, and expected attrition impacts.

In addition, our guidance assumes a continued roll-out of the vaccines, that will allow gradual volume and revenue improvement in the first half of the year, with an acceleration in the back half of the year, as client softness and new sales performance improved sequentially. As I mentioned earlier, we expect several expense lines to normalize higher in 2021 compared with 2020. As our business recovers, stock and bonus accruals, as well as sales commission expenses will be higher. T&E will rise as our salespeople get back on the road and volume-related expenses will also rise with increased business activity.

Bad debt expense is expected to normalize as we've reopened credit and our sales performance continues to improve. We're also making incremental investments in sales, marketing, and IT to support our growth aspirations and to deliver a 2021 sales production plan, that's more than 30% higher than 2020's results.

We're extremely excited with the Roger acquisition and a disproportionate share of our incremental sales and marketing investments will be directed toward that business. As such, the fully loaded acquisition will be an estimated $0.10 drag to adjusted net income per diluted share in 2021. As we've demonstrated time and again, we do take a balanced approach on expenses and we'll adjust accordingly if we see revenues begin to deviate from our expectations.

And lastly, we continue to work through the approvals on AFEX, which have been slowed by Brexit and virus-related shutdowns. While we still expect the deal to be accretive in 2021, we now believe it is more likely to close in Q2 versus our original expectation of Q1. And just for clarity, AFEX is not included in the guidance ranges I provided earlier.

And now, operator, we'd like to open the line for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question is from Sanjay Sakhrani with KBW. Please proceed.

Sanjay Sakhrani -- KBW -- Analyst

Thanks, good evening. Thanks for all the color on the trends and the guidance. But just to drill down on the guidance a little bit. When I think about the ranges on the extreme ends, could you maybe, Charles, as talk about sort of what's baked into one end versus the other? Thanks.

Charles Freund -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So I appreciate you joining and thanks for the question. So in terms of that the high end, I'd say that that would be a perfect scenario, right? So as Ron mentioned, we are assuming recovery in terms of the COVID softness that we've experienced, the timing and the magnitude of that is super hard to suggest. If at all came roaring back, our sales were perfect, we -- maybe you can get there. So it's a pretty broad range as you can see.

On the downside. I mean, who knows what's going to happen with goldit, right. So if things weren't to come back, it could be a problem. We think that we're being reasonably optimistic in that regard, given everything that the news says, the economy, the vaccines, the Biden administration mentioning thing was the things will be back by Q3. So we're optimistic in that regard, but I'd say that the range is broad because we just really don't know.

Sanjay Sakhrani -- Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. -- Analyst

Got it.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Hey Sanjay, it's Ron. Let me just add on to Chuck's comment, which the second thing would be the sales. That we've got a pretty speeds sales plan increase for '21 and so the amount of that that we get in year in revenue, both the backlog and the pace at which that comes in, that will also have a pretty big swing on the range we gave.

Sanjay Sakhrani -- Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. -- Analyst

Got it. And then, Ron, you guys are obviously flushed with quite a bit of liquidity. I mean as you sit here and you think about the next year, how do you envision utilizing it? Thanks.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Yes, I think our philosophy, Sanjay, is kind of steady as she goes, right. Our first use is accretive acquisitions and we're sitting here today with three or four interesting active deals in the pipeline. So that's always our first and highest use. And then your point, given the leverage ratio and stuff, if our stock doesn't trade where we think it should obviously we've indicated, we'll buy stock back. So acquisition's one and stock buybacks, depending on the price too.

Sanjay Sakhrani -- Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question is from Tien-Tsin Huang from J.P. Morgan. Please proceed.

Tien-Tsin Huang -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Thank you so much. Good to catch up. I want to say I guess the new sales were encouraging, your reinstating guidance that's also encouraging. Any way to think about the level of conservatism in the outlook kind of like what Sanjay was asking about the range. I think I understand it, but just to think that it could be some pent-up demand on new sales. The trends are clearly improving you're excited about this SMB bill pay, which make some sense. I'm just trying to understand conservatism versus maybe excitement about the chance to get back to double-digit-plus growth year.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Hey, Tien-Tsin, it's Ron, I would say that we tried to build these plans to what we call the most likely, right, and then, figure out how wide a range around it. And so I think the confidence part comes from looking at the trend Q2, 3, and 4. I don't know if you can picked it up in my remarks, but we've literally gotten half of it back between Q2 and Q4 which is obviously quite significant and it's still a pretty big number, right, when you look at the total softness we had for all of 2020. So I'd say that there is no precision in this. We -- I think we caveat this as many ways as we could about the wildcard of softness recovery. So I'd say that we provide ranges to try to keep people in the mid-point. So we don't know, but I'd say kind of its midpoint kind of our most likely.

Tien-Tsin Huang -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Okay, and you talked about with Roger, bill pay being potentially pretty big from an opportunity standpoint, so what's the timetable or at the steps to get to the point where it becomes needle moving, what steps need to take place, what should we be tracking?

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Yes, I mean, it's a great question. I'd say we'll probably -- they're obviously in the market on a stand-alone basis and even here in the U.S. So the first two things that we are on is one cross-selling that product back to our North American base and then I'd say 90 days we should be launched with our own channel, our own digital, our own field, and own people selling it to new prospects. So by the time we talk next time, we'll hopefully have some news for you.

Tien-Tsin Huang -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

All right. Good, thanks for the update.

Operator

Our next question is from Steven Wald with Morgan Stanley. Please proceed.

Steven Wald -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Great, thanks for taking my question. Good evening. Maybe just following up on Tien-Tsin's question on Roger and thinking about the investment. I was just curious if you could speak to the timing for the investment. It sounds like it might be somewhat front-loaded and how you're thinking about that dilution as it's planned over, let me guess, relative to 1Q guide versus the full year and then what that envisions for 2022 if you're able to sort of frame out the potential contribution from Roger, yes.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

So some of it is just obviously deal-related, right we picked up that there people safety. So we've got some dilution happening immediately. We are investing even advance now at the corporate level to support that acquisition, as well as building out those sales channels. We'll see that ramp up. In terms of the contribution for next year. I'd say we haven't totally modeled it yet but it's probably going to be still a little dilutive to kind of flat until we fully scaled the channels. So we want to obviously see what works before too much in.

But nonetheless, I'd say that the things about that -- it's a very small acquisition, $1 million -- some odd couple of million in terms of revenue. So it's got a long way to go, but we're pouring a lot of sales and marketing kind of upfront to get it going. It's a real bet for us, it was a real deal, we're investing to retain the people that are there because they've helped to build this product and we're going to need their help to continue. So we've built an extra cost in there as well. So in terms of the magnitude of what it could be next year, it's really going to depend on how much more we pour into the investments.

Steven Wald -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

I appreciate that. And then maybe just switching gears toward some of the things you outlined on Slide 11 and 12 with the Beyond strategies. I know you talked to us few of the main -- the key areas that you're directing investment. But clearly, it seems like the corporate payments and then layering that into the fuel business are a couple of the main areas beyond the Toll business that has its own growth plan. I'm curious how you're thinking about the Lodging business and investment dollar priorities coming out of the pandemic. Clearly, there are going to be some permanent behavior shifts. I guess that one strikes me as probably the most obvious area but I'm curious if you could sort of stack rank for us how you're thinking about Beyond as it relates to investment priorities. You've got a lot of liquidity as it has been pointed out, but certainly, there's got to be some level of priority that you guys are thinking of.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Steven, hey, it's Ron again. So, yes, I think you called that right, clearly, corporate pay would be one and tour would be two because of the size of the business but it's still 40%, 50% of the company. In lodging the one thing I would say is remember, our FLEETCOR Lodging business is workforce, translation, blue-collar utility guys going a new city, tree cutters, clean it up, and so prepping is way back. I mean, I looked at the January volume numbers earlier today, and I believe month to month that thing is down 3% to 5% now year-over-year. And so that Lodging business looks completely different than the kind of Lodging business we people on this call are thinking about.

So the airline part of that is a completely different call to your point, that things running kind of 50% of volumes of a year ago. But that's the one I say has the snap, bounce back possibility. So we've cut, I took a ton of money out of that business, particularly out of the airline portion of the business to kind of wait here to see if it's going to snap back. But it would be number three, but we still like it. I think we lay out on that Page 11 is a couple of interesting verticals beyond workforce and beyond airline that we're looking at, that we like a lot to leverage everything we have the systems and network and stuff. So I want to be clear, we like that business and we will keep investing and we may buy some additional things for the business. Let me be clear, it's not white-collar T&E kind of Lodging business.

Steven Wald -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Of course. Appreciate all that. Thanks.

Operator

Our next question is from Ramsey El-Assal with Barclays. Please proceed.

Ramsey El-Assal -- Barclays -- Analyst

Hi, gentlemen. Thanks for taking my question this evening. I wanted to ask about Brazil and that was pretty impressive statistic in terms of how many new users you're signing up. I wanted to ask about the merchant acceptance side of that equation. Do you kind of have what you need now to basically continue building up that product or is there a pipeline of new merchants or verticals in Brazil that you could see yourselves kind of getting involved with along the lines of McDonald's or Petrobras or these other merchants here you have great partnerships with? Ramsey, that's a good question. I think we're mostly focused on the three or four city locations that we mentioned, fueling, parking, fast food, and then condos effectively access right for people back in the city. And so, the plan we put a fair amount of capital actually in the '21 plan to build out particularly the fueling footprint there, because it's the biggest TAM, right, the dollar spent on fuel are massive.

And so, the bit of the delay was not only COVID, but our guys tinkered and came up with two or three different hardware, software configurations for the fueling locations that improve reliability like super highs of a guard that's in the thing, know that's the right car and it doesn't make mistakes and dramatically reduce the cost. And so, that business is going to be on a super-duper hurry up drill even now, even in the first half of the year, trying to add stations across the board. So we should see those transaction counts usage of the same grow a lot as we move into the second half. Okay, and then on a separate -- a separate topic. I wanted to ask generally about the kind of credit aperture across your business and whether it sort have opened back-up again. I mean, obviously, it has to some degree, but was there a revenue headwind in the quarter from sort of tighter credit standards given we're still in a challenging kind of macro environment and how should we think about that in terms of maybe potentially even opening further as we go forward or is that largely kind of narrative largely sort of played out?

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Yes, another good question. So I'll start the answer to that one. We over-reacted, right. So when the thing happened, we kind of pulled pretty far back, which clearly reduced revenue. We even pulled back on existing accounts right, trimming lines, accelerating payment terms and stuff. So we went at it pretty hard. And now, we've reported out for the year and I think, Chuck even mentioned the forward roll rates, so we've got the -- I think the lowest credit losses as long as I can remember, and certainly as the basis against spend.

And so, we rotated that I'd say in the Fuel card business, we are 100% back. So whatever credit policies we had pre-COVID, I'd say if you went, looked at our Fuel card businesses, we are right back to fully open, still balance to fully open. I'd say the one place where we're still being a little cautious in the corporate pay. And the reason is the spend per client there is so significant if you think about it, and so we're still being careful. The industry sitting in the corporate pay space that have been pretty impacted. So I'd say we'd move that one back, but still not all the way back, because this is more high-line, what we call internally high-line risk of a couple of BK's for some significant amount of money. So I think there's still upside as we roll through '21 as those three or four industries we're cautious on kind of come back.

Ramsey El-Assal -- Barclays -- Analyst

Perfect. Very great, thanks for your answers.

Operator

Our next question is from David Togut with Evercore ISI. Please proceed.

David Togut -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Thank you. Good evening. Just following up, Ron, on your comments on corporate pay. Can you give us some sense of the ranges you're thinking about for the T&E card for 2021? That seems to be the biggest swing factor within that business, since most of the other categories are holding up reasonably well.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Yes, David. Hey, good question. So the overall Corporate Pay business sitting inside the guidance we gave is high-teens. So if you take the entire line of business sitting in our plans we're outlooking high-teens for that. I think inside of that the T&E, which is now shrunk down is probably in the mid-to-high single-digits. And if you remember what we call kind of a multi-card, kind of walk around plastics there that buy supplies, even fuel, and the rabid used P cards as a form of vendor payables.

That line of business that plastics are multi-card, I think the last time I looked was down to about 20% of it now being white-collar TD like us. And so, fortunately, kind of 80% of that business is kind of OK. Buying fuels, buying supplies, paying vendors, and so it's not going to talk of decline, if you will, it's not going to drag down really the growth rate as much because it shrunk down 2020. So, fortunately, it will have less impact on the total Corporate Pay business this year.

David Togut -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks for that. And then, just a final question on the Gift Card business. Is the view that you're going to hang on to that for quite some time. Just given the cash that you generate from it, even though it appears to be a declining business?

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Yes, I'd say the short answer to that is yes. So obviously, retail as a category was super impacted in 2020 brought our Gift Card business pretty far down at the opening kind of in Q2. Surprisingly, the thing has come back quite well. People still obviously you listen for the word gift cards, still ordering gift cards in the digital portion of those day that has gone way crazy high and we bought a business a year ago to help our retailers manage online pretty timely as they have rotated over to more online sales.

So surprisingly, that business is getting healthier from some of those new digital initiatives. And so what I'd say is, we're going to see how this year goes, their plan is actually up obviously off of the softness for '21. So I think we will probably take another peak at the business as we get laid into this year.

David Togut -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Understood. Thank you very much.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Good talking.

Operator

Our next question is from Pete Christiansen with Citigroup. Please proceed.

Pete Christiansen -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Thank you. Good evening, gentlemen. Thanks for the question. I was just thinking through the incremental investment on some of the IT initiatives here. Can you give us some of the timetables for your key goals here and have you considered whether or not, given that we are in a recovery year that possibly accelerating some of those investments.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Yes, Pete, it's Ron. I'm not sure that we're accelerating further the recovery year. I think we're doing two things, one, we're trying to invest in and projects that drive growth. So we've got the capital plan kind of up a bit, $15 million, $20 million, Chuck, I think over the prior year. And then second, we made a decision, Pete, a pour and more money into what we call IT transformation or modernization whatever the word is. So we're pretty hard on the trail of consolidating some of the apps updating obviously some of the hardware and software and stuff.

And so we're pouring money into simplifying kind of our technology footprint, while we're obviously still making investments in digital, in things like Roger, new analytics packages, new mobile interfaces. So we're spending money on things that we should be, but also on the transformation side.

Pete Christiansen -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Thanks, that's helpful, and then, Ron, it's a little bit of a longer-term question here. The drumbeat on EVs is kind of picked up recently with Board of GM making some announcements in the Biden administration looking to switch over the federal fleet. I mean, does this change how you think about the Fuel card business longer-term and perhaps on how FLEETCOR intends to manage any broader changes industry-wise there?

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

I mean, I think, Pete, a bit. I think we've been on for all kinds of reasons not only EV but just TAM and growth rate and long-term potential. The company is diversifying things that we do, that share the same model. And so I don't know what we're at 60% now, I guess. So we're moving anyway but I said a little bit in the call the last time on the EV thing that what our perspective on the thing is, A, it's way farther out even if the acceleration of EV sales is pretty dramatic because the size of the installed base or the useful life, our model show the same number of commercial vehicles -- the combustion engine vehicles in 10 years here in the U.S and in the U.K. or two biggest markets in 10 years as today because of the growth rate of sale, and again of the life.

But the more important point I mentioned last time is it's less about the fuel card buying fuel, or the fleet card buying electricity. I think what we're learning particularly in Europe and in the U.K. is we're getting paid by our clients as they move to some EV, they're paying us card fees, for example, for the EV vehicle the same way and there's this new opportunity of -- we're going from, call it 150,000 gas stations in the United States to having millions of charging points at employees homes and so the employers looked like they'd want us to play a role in the hardware and software in measuring of all of those new charge points in all the reimbursement.

And so it's early days, but I'd say to you guys that doing what we do with measuring and helping pay and reimburse employee expenditures in and around vehicles, we think we're still going to get paid a fair amount of money both in the transition to mix fleet at even when people get over the EV. So we're going to have a little bit of a teach-in maybe in 90 days on this subject with the takeaway hopefully being, A, it's way longer out there for the old combustion engine and B, what FLEETCOR's economics may look like even in a pure-EV world.

Pete Christiansen -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Thanks, Ron. Very thoughtful answer. Thank you.

Operator

Our next question is from Ashish Sabadra with Deutsche Bank. Please proceed.

Ashish Sabadra -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Thanks for taking my question, and congrats on a pretty good result considering the difficult macro environment we are in. My question was on the sales front, pretty good acceleration there going back to 92%. You called out full AP sales doubled, I was wondering if you can also talk about the sales growth in other segments. And also, as we think about next year in the 30% -- expectation for a 30% higher sales compared to this year, key areas that we can see more strength, I guess SMB bill pay will definitely be one of the areas but any incremental color will be helpful. Thanks.

Charles Freund -- Chief Financial Officer

Ashish, this is Charles. So yes, in terms of the sales performances Ron had mentioned, we exit Q4 at over 90% of the prior year. It is mix, so I'd say Brazil had an unbelievable sales year. Overall, and in the fourth quarter, really it outperformed versus prior years, so they were well above 15% or so above last year. There is still a couple of the businesses that are lagging a bit. And particularly, our North America Fuel business is still catching up, it's on what, an upward swing, but just has recovered quite as quickly.

Our Lodging business has actually come in, kind of right around last year's that has performed OK. So it's mixed, I'd say but nonetheless, they've all have come back from Q2 through Q3 and I think Q4 had a better place. I'm looking forward to next year, we've got pretty robust ambitions and plans, we're going the -- we have the biggest sales plan in the company's history and we are planning to be up 30% versus where we finished this year. So we've got a lot to do and we're pretty excited about our possibility there.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Hey, Ashish, it's Ron, just to jump on to what Chuck said. One of the things helping us is the market is kind of coming back, right. We study searches of the categories, and so some of the results we report in Q4 is the world just kind of getting used to this and kind of get on with things, and so we think as that keeps moving our way where businesses are interested in the kind of things we do, that helps. And then we, of course, we're going to invest more, might want of them more FTEs, more digital spend, we've got some new products that we've talked about.

So we're super excited. I mean, first of all, we've got super stock comps in Q2 when sales almost closed down, and so to Chuck's point, this is a super big deal for '22 and now most people on the call are interested in this year in '21 but my headline to you guys is that if we make the sales plan which is super big both against the prior year and absolute, it's -- that'll pour all kinds of revenue in the '22 which is part of the softness that we're dealing with here in '21, right. That we basically took a quarter and a half out of selling and so you don't get the same wave of revenue rolling into the forward year. So I just don't want people to miss the importance of the sales plan for next year.

Charles Freund -- Chief Financial Officer

I'd also just comment that when COVID hits and we took our foot off the accelerator in certain areas, right, because we weren't going to pour incremental sales investment when the market was not listening and they were distracted. So we slowed down some of the incremental investments where we're shifting gears now in preparation for a big year next year and the reopening of the economy. So fingers crossed, and so we're investing ahead of that and I think that's also putting a little pressure on our forward guidance in terms of earnings, right, because we're making sales investments, again in a big way. So I think we should be mindful of that.

Ashish Sabadra -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Yes, no, that's very helpful color. Sorry, just maybe a follow-up question on the SMB bill pay opportunity. Obviously that's a large opportunity and lot of players are going after it and congrats on the Roger AI acquisition. So I was just, maybe a follow-up question to earlier questions there. You obviously have a very warm lead which positions you much better, but can you just talk about how long are those sales cycles implementation times and how do you plan to leverage your existing sales force and the warm leads that you have to maybe accelerate and double down on that opportunity? Thanks.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Yes, Ashish, another super good question. So one of the attractive things about the SMB bill pay is what you said, it's the instamatic sale and sign up and get going. The current business that we have today, which is in the middle market has a pretty prolonged kind of implementation cycles, almost like a project to get a $200 million company to connect with you and get the merchants in place and all that kind of stuff. And so the first good news is that sales and revenue will be more connected in the SMB Corporate Pay business than they are in the middle market.

And I think the point that the question you asked and the point that we make us a super good one, which is the missing capability I think Napoli asked me this in the last call but I couldn't tell him. Hey, Ron, what are you missing? To really be really a gorilla here in corporate pay and I didn't want to say the answer is an SMB killer software app that works for the little company because we have the rest of the stuff. We acquire tons of clients with our sales channels, we've got capital, we've got processing capability, we've got the merchant networks to monetize. So cause the clients to sell and they do, they'll listen to us.

And so unlike Rogers, I meant the principal there who kind of on their own a super good product kind of hanging out on the lull. You take their super good product in you embed it into these set of things we have, I mean we are, I said it half getting the yield remarks but this could be kind of the biggest deal of all because finally, we have a product that matches up with some of our capabilities. I mean, no one ever asked me before but how funny that FLEETCOR build the Corporate Payments business in the middle market when the whole company was an SMB company. And so it just took us a while to pair up the Corporate Payments business with the business that we've built over the last 20 years.

And so, the headline is we were right, well, we have it. So I think what I'll get way over the skis here that this is a super big deal directionally for the company over the next three to five years of just building this thing out where both walk around plastic and payables sit inside the same client, where we stitched together effectively our Fuel card business in our Corporate Payments business in the same client. It's not a small idea in our mind, it's a big idea.

Ashish Sabadra -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

That's fair. Congrats once again. Thanks, all.

Operator

Our next question is from Bob Napoli with William Blair. Please proceed.

Robert Napoli -- William Blair -- Analyst

Thank you. Good afternoon. Appreciate the call out there, Ron.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

I'm thinking about you, Bob, just thinking about you.

Robert Napoli -- William Blair -- Analyst

Just a quick question, I know we're getting at the end here. But the sales -- the increase in sales investment that you're making in. Is this something that is one-time in nature or is the idea here in conjunction with your transformation to accelerate growth, increase investment in sales to ramp up the sales growth rate over the long term and in-line with the transformation, focusing on the higher growth product lines.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Yes. The short answer, the increment is recurring and if you looked at our three-year plans, you'd see a similar kind of increase, 50% plus in sales in our 2002 plans. So yes, it is recurring and I'd say, the second part is, it does come in a couple of forms. It comes in A, the old fashioned form of just more scale. So more outbound phone callers, more field people, more digital Google-search keywords.

But I'd say that the new ones that's different is we're going to make more investments kind of in digital, kind of at the top of the funnel. So we're going to spend more money to create more engagement as we have this broader product set now. And so, having more things to sell, I think allows us to spend some money earlier in people's decision cycle than at the end. So we tested that in Q4 last year and it's working. And so, that some decent part of the step-up in '21, kind of a different kind of spend, Bob, for us than historically.

Robert Napoli -- William Blair -- Analyst

Great, thank you. I appreciate it.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

It's good to talk to you.

Operator

Our next question is from Trevor Williams with Jefferies. Please proceed.

Trevor Williams -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hey, guys, good afternoon. I just wanted to ask on expenses. So just maybe for, Charles, regardless of where you end up in the organic range. I mean, should we expect expense growth really to look similar to whatever you end up doing on the top-line, or could there be a level at which you might start to see a little bit more op leverage? So I'm just trying to think about how much we could see flow through to earnings if you do get a big snapback in volumes in the second half? Thanks.

Charles Freund -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So I think when you look at our Q1 guidance, you see a bit of a reset on certain line-items, whether it's the bad debt reserve or anticipation of bad debt, eating up through the quarters in commensurate with our sales performance. Some of the snap-back in terms of T&E, right, when the world opens up, our people are going to travel like others do, our bonus accruals and such. There's kind of like a relevel set in this Q1 and then moving forward from there. So that's part of it.

To your point though, when the volume does come back, that's COVID-related, and that revenue does pour in. It will come in at a higher margin level but offsetting that are some of these incremental investments that Ron mentioned, right, we're layering in more sales and marketing for our core products, we're comparing a lot of sales and marketing for Roger and our cross-sell efforts. So I'd say it's going to be pretty balanced in my view as we go through the quarters of the year.

Trevor Williams -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay, got it. That's really helpful. And then, just a quick clarification on the guide. I mean, it looks like you're implying the share count to be roughly flat year-over-year. So really no buybacks baked in, at least to the earnings guide. So just curious if there is any reason in particular why we shouldn't expect you to be buying back stock next year if there is just some element of conservatism that's baked in there? Thanks.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Yes, right. Hey, it's Ron. So clearly build plans in terms of our capital allocation as though we're going to face retire debt, right, take the principle down, and so to your point, to the extent the capital allocation results and another transaction and other acquisition, we buy earnings or B, we buy back stock.

To your point, the capital allocation can take up our earnings, so the guidance that we have now assumes that the roughly $1 billion of cash flow, we basically retire debt during the year, which I guess is that I'm hoping to near year from today, Trevor, that's not what we do to your point in the next 12 months. But since those two decisions are in the future we plan, what we know which is to pay down debt.

Trevor Williams -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay, got it. Very helpful. I appreciate it guys. Thank you.

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Welcome.

Charles Freund -- Chief Financial Officer

You're welcome.

Operator

I believe this concludes the question-and-answer session. I would like to turn it back over to management for closing remarks.

James P. Eglseder -- Head of Investor Relations

Yes. Thanks, everybody. Apologize if we didn't get to your question. But unless to hope you have any incremental questions, then we look forward to working together in the quarter. That's all.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 63 minutes

Call participants:

James P. Eglseder -- Head of Investor Relations

Ron Clarke -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Charles Freund -- Chief Financial Officer

Sanjay Sakhrani -- KBW -- Analyst

Sanjay Sakhrani -- Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. -- Analyst

Tien-Tsin Huang -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Steven Wald -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Ramsey El-Assal -- Barclays -- Analyst

David Togut -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Pete Christiansen -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Ashish Sabadra -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Robert Napoli -- William Blair -- Analyst

Trevor Williams -- Jefferies -- Analyst

More FLT analysis

All earnings call transcripts

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