With many analysts and companies predicting and preparing for a recession, one company stands out from the others: Visa (V 1.58%). In the conference call for its 2022 fiscal year fourth quarter (ended Sept. 30), Visa's chief executive officer, Al Kelly, stated, "We did not factor a steep economic downturn or a recession into our numbers" for the company's 2023 outlook.

If that doesn't get investors talking, I don't know what will. To be clear, he noted if a recession does occur, it will have an impact, but he is focusing on "managing our business for the medium and long term." This kind of thinking is one of the reasons famed investor Warren Buffett owns a stake in Visa, although he reduced his holdings in Q4 2021.

Is 2023 the year Buffett adds to his Visa position? Or will it be trimmed entirely? Let's find out.

Buffett sold some of his Visa stock to fund another investment

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A 0.17%) (BRK.B 0.40%) has about 0.5% of its portfolio in Visa and 0.4% in competitor Mastercard. This represents a $1.8 billion stake in Visa. This is half as much as it was at the end of 2021, as Buffett dumped $1.8 billion and $1.3 billion in Visa and Mastercard stock, respectively, to fund an investment in Nubank.

But Visa still fits a lot of Buffett's investment criteria: It has fantastic economics, earning fees every time a transaction crosses its network, and produces strong cash flows. It also has a near duopoly with Mastercard, making the moat practically impenetrable to new entrants in the market.

In 2021, Visa struggled, with free cash flow and earnings trending in the wrong direction amid the coronavirus pandemic (Visa makes much of its money through cross-border transactions). However, it has turned that trend around in 2022.

V EPS Diluted (TTM) Chart

V EPS Diluted (TTM) data by YCharts

With its financials improving, Buffett may be enticed to get back into the stock, as the stock has gone sideways over the past year, despite the increase in earnings.

When a stock's price moves sideways but earnings rise, its valuation metrics drop. For Visa, both its price-to-earnings and price-to-free-cash-flow ratios have reached their lowest levels in some time.

V PE Ratio Chart

V PE Ratio data by YCharts

Now, 31 times earnings isn't cheap for a stock, but it makes sense when it is as profitable as Visa (51% profit margin).

While the stock looks good from a valuation perspective, its financials also look promising.

2023 could be a year of slower growth for Visa

In Q4, Visa's net revenue increased 19% year over year to $7.8 billion, propelled higher by international transaction revenue, which was up 52% year over year to $2.9 billion. However, rising operating expenses and a one-time charge held earnings per share (EPS) to a13% increase.

These metrics represent a slowdown from the full fiscal year 2022, with net revenue rising 22% and EPS up 24%. So does this indicate Visa may have a rocky year ahead of it? Analysts seem to think so.

According to 31 analysts, Visa is only expected to increase revenue by 8.8% this year, but EPS should rise by 10%. While that would be considered a subpar year for Visa, EPS growth of 10% is a market-matching return.

With Visa's stock valued at a relative low and the business executing at a high level, the shares seem like a strong buy. Although 2023 may not be the turnaround year, management is positioning Visa well for the long term, which should excite all investors. Additionally, management unveiled a new $12 billion share repurchase program and raised its dividend, which will provide a secondary source of returns. I'm not sure if Buffett will add to his position, but I think all investors (including him) should.