The true value of operating in overseas markets is becoming ever more apparent for the Colorado-based company. Last week, Western Union announced fourth-quarter and full-year net income of $243 million and $857 million, respectively -- with fully 54% of business coming from outside the United States.
Fourth-quarter net income represented a gain of 12% over the same period in 2006, although the international segment of the business grew by 23%, while domestic business showed declines of 9%.
The global diversification puts Western Union in a comfy position going forward, should the U.S. fall into a recession. With huge growth in places like India -- which posted a 68% gain in transactions in the fourth quarter, and now sports more than 50,000 agent locations -- and China, where transaction volume grew by 24% in the fourth quarter, Western Union continues to define what true global diversification looks like.
Coming off its first year as an independent company after its 2006 spinoff from First Data, Western Union also announced last week an extended agreement with grocery chain Delhaize
Shares of Western Union, which relies on transaction fees rather than loan interest, remain near their 52-week high. That's quite a feat for nearly any company associated with the financial services industry. One of Western Union's closest competitors, MoneyGram
Going forward, investors will keep an eye on Western Union as it continues its drive into every corner of the globe. It should remain the dominate money-transfer player in the industry, venturing into new products like international bill-pay and pushing to add nearly 25,000 locations annually. With its own aggressive expansion plans, and a serious setback for its nearest competitor, Western Union shows no signs of slowing down soon.
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