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Will This Company Outpace MasterCard and Visa?

By Philip Saglimbeni - Feb 25, 2014 at 7:00AM

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If you've ever felt that you missed the boat on growth stocks like MasterCard and Visa, FleetCor may be providing you with a second chance.

As credit card giants MasterCard (MA 1.19%) and Visa (V 0.84%) continue to make headlines seemingly all the time and with both stocks up over 40% in the last year alone, many investors feel like they have missed the boat in the payments solutions space. However, there are still small growth alternatives to the major players -- and perhaps none is better than FleetCor Technologies (FLT 2.34%)

What does FleetCor do?
FleetCor is a provider of fuel cards and related payment services. The company offers its products and services to businesses, commercial fleets, oil companies and government entities primarily in North American and European markets. 

FleetCor's business is unique in several ways, compared to traditional payment solutions companies like MasterCard and Visa. First, FleetCor focuses on larger, commercial clients as opposed to individual consumers and personal use. The company has over 500,000 commercial accounts and over 800 partnerships with companies like Chevron, Shell and BP

Second, FleetCor is diversifying its business to include a suite of repair services alongside fuel payments. Late last year, FleetCor announced that it had acquired Epyx, a UK-based operator of fleet maintenance programs. Most notably, Epyx has an extensive vehicle repair network consisting of approximately 9,000 service garages in the UK, which it uses to help customers manage their fleets more effectively and efficiently.

While this complimentary business is still very much in the early stages, there is no reason that company management could not incorporate a similar strategy in other markets.

Smaller company, bigger growth:
While FleetCor is a much smaller company than either MasterCard or Visa, the company's growth is anything but. The following is a breakdown of FleetCor's growth compared to the aforementioned payment solutions titans: 

CompanyRevenue Growth 2014EPS Growth 2014
FleetCor 21.8% 22.5%
MasterCard 11.5% 16.9%
Visa 11.3% 17.3%

*Visa fiscal year ends in September

Not surprisingly, FleetCor is projected to lead its much larger peers significantly in both categories, with over 20% revenue and EPS growth expected this year.

However, what is surprising is that investors are not being asked at the moment to pay a premium at all for FleetCor's superior growth. The company's forward P/E of 20.2 is slightly lower than MasterCard's and Visa's, at 21.1 and 21.5 respectively. This indicates that the market has not yet fully priced in FleetCor's industry-leading growth.

Future growth is massive
The company just wrapped up a fantastic 2013 in which it closed seven acquisitions and signed six new partnership deals.These moves are expected to contribute significantly to FleetCor's growth in 2014 as the company continues to diversify its business. 

Of particular importance is the company's growing international footprint. In fact, management stated in its recent earnings release that it expects FleetCor to derive more than 50% of its total fiscal year revenue from international markets for the first time ever. Additionally, it expects more than a quarter of the company's total fiscal year revenue to be derived from services outside of FleetCor's main fuel card business. 

It's still early
It is clear that FleetCor is still in the early stages of growth, especially compared to industry juggernauts like MasterCard and Visa. The best part is that FleetCor's superior growth is cheap in comparison to its larger peers.

Management's outlook for 2014 is extremely encouraging, and indicates that FleetCor is about to have a banner year as the company transitions to becoming a truly international company with an evolving business mix. If you feel like you missed the boat on MasterCard and Visa, give FleetCor serious consideration, as the company seems to have what it takes to outperform its larger rivals going forward.


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Stocks Mentioned

Mastercard Incorporated Stock Quote
Mastercard Incorporated
$336.18 (1.19%) $3.96
Visa Inc. Stock Quote
Visa Inc.
$199.03 (0.84%) $1.66
FleetCor Technologies, Inc. Stock Quote
FleetCor Technologies, Inc.
$231.08 (2.34%) $5.28

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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