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MasterCard, Inc.'s (MA) CEO Ajaypal Singh Banga on Q1 2014 Earnings - Call Transcript

Stocks in this article: MA

At the end of the day, we're going to need to conform to this new Russian law, as well as international law, when we operate our business in the Russian market, just as it is in other markets. So, overall, we expect a small impact from this current Russian situation on our results for 2014. But the situation is fluid, and it's difficult for us to be certain numerically about the impact for 2015 and beyond, at least until the law is clearer and we can work our way through those details, which will take some months to happen. So let's move on to some of our recent business activity.

During the quarter, we signed a number of new agreements that support the expansion of our business around the world. And let me run through a few quick examples. SEB Baltics, which is a division of the SEB Group. SEB Group is a key MasterCard relationship in the Nordics, and SEB Baltics is in the process of converting their entire debit and credit card portfolio to MasterCard. So as a result, we expect to be the leading payment brand in the Baltics by the end of this year.

Additionally, Svenska Handelsbanken, the second largest retail bank in Sweden, will begin converting all of their consumer credit, debit, co-brand, and installment cards across all their markets including the Nordic, Baltics, UK, Netherlands, and Poland. This deal actually represents the largest conversion in Europe since we won the business with Swedbank and will make MasterCard both the exclusive partner of Handelsbanken but also the leading debit brand in Sweden, which as you know is one of the countries with the lowest use of cash in the world.

Kenya Commercial Bank, East Africa's largest bank, announced that it will issue 5 million debit prepaid and credit MasterCard products over the next five years. That builds on the partnerships we've announced over the last couple of years in Kenya with both Macro Mart supermarkets and Equity Bank, and more than doubles the number of our cards in that market. And as we've said before, over the last several years, we've been focused on investing and deepening our merchant relationships as well.

And you've read that Walmart and Sam's Club announced recently that they will start converting their co-brand credit cards to MasterCard starting this summer. And starting in early 2015, Target will be converting their Target branded credit cards to MasterCard. Additionally, their entire REDcard portfolio, which adds in their private label cards, will be enabled with our EMV solution and will support chip and PIN transactions in their stores. We're delighted to be chosen, obviously, as Target's EMV solutions partner and for their faith in MasterCard as quoted from their press release that they will, quote, "aggressively move forward to bring enhanced technology with the most secure payment product available," unquote.

In addition, we're also expanding our relationship with Walmart beyond the U.S. to work with some of their Latin American affiliates. So in Mexico, their Sam's and Suburbia co-brand cards are being converted to MasterCard, one from a competitor, the other from a private label store card. In Chile, they've recently started to migrate their private label cards to co-branded MasterCards. And that Walmart local supermarket brand - it's called Lider, one of the largest in that country. That's the one we are migrating.

One additional example of the progress we've made in expanding our merchant relationships is in Japan with Amazon.com who just recently launched a MasterCard co-brand card. And that card provides the cardholder an opportunity to earn rewards when shopping on Amazon's website or at any MasterCard-accepting merchant, as well as free shipping through Amazon Prime.

So moving on to the mobile front, the convergence of the physical and digital worlds is reflected in the continuing shift in payments to digital forms and more interestingly new payment flows. It represents one of the most significant changes in our space since I think the introduction of plastic payment cards many years ago. And over the last several years, we've been developing a foundation to support this shift by establishing products, services, and standards to address the needs of this new ecosystem.

So you've heard all of us talk about many of these in the past. MasterPass Digital Wallet is one example. Our efforts around tokenization another example. We'll be continuing to build on that, and for example, last quarter we announced our acquisition of C-SAM, a leading provider of mobile wallet software. The idea is that this would help us increase the pace of the deployment of our MasterPass wallet as well as the development of additional services, customer-specific offers, for example, loyalty and rewards, for example.

So when it comes to mobile, we are technology agnostic. We support implementations based on different market models around the world. One model puts payment credentials on the phone. So for example, we recently announced a collaboration between TREVICA, which is our European provider of processing services. It's a business we own and three mobile operators who represent about 80% of the mobile subscribers in Germany: Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica Deutschland and Vodafone. Any bank in Germany that connects to TREVICA will be able to provision their cards to the phones provided by any of these three mobile operators.

A different model is to put payment credentials in the cloud as compared to on the phone. And for that, we will soon publish technical specs supporting what we announced a little while ago which is Host Card Emulation which will make it easier to roll out contactless NFC-based model payments in markets that want alternatives to storing payment data on the phone.

So on a final note, MasterPass momentum continues. We are now in seven countries: the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and China, with more than 40,000 merchants accepting the wallet. In addition, what I think is really interesting, MasterPass will be available soon as an in-app option so that it can be selected within a mobile shopping app, eliminating the need for the consumer to have to enter payment card information of any type to make a purchase.

So with that, I'm going to run it over to Martina for a detailed update on our financial results and all our operational metrics. Martina?

Martina Hund-Mejean, Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Ajay, and good morning, everyone. Let me begin on page three of our slide deck where you see the as-reported as well as the FX-adjusted growth rates. All of my comments pertain to the FX-adjusted figures, which are essentially the same as the as-reported numbers due to the strength of the euro offsetting the weakness of the Brazilian real. As Ajay said, we are very pleased with our strong performance this quarter, which we were able to deliver in spite of the mixed economic environment.

Net revenue growth of 14% combined with operating expenses growth of 11% resulted in net income growth of 14%. EPS growth was 18%, and share repurchases contributed $0.03 per share. During the first quarter, we repurchased just over 21.3 million shares at a cost of approximately $1.7 billion. Through April 24, we repurchased a little more than 6.2 million shares at a cost of approximately $450 million, and we now have $1.5 billion remaining under the current authorization. We will continue to look to repurchase shares on an opportunistic basis.

Turning to cash flow, cash flow from operations was $568 million. Additionally, at the end of the quarter, we completed an inaugural debt offering of $1.5 billion, and we ended up the quarter with cash, cash equivalent, and other liquid investments of about $6.6 billion.

So let me turn to page four, and here you can see the operational metrics for the first quarter. Our worldwide gross dollar volume, or GDV, was up 14% on a local currency basis, and that's essentially the same as last quarter. U.S. GDV grew 9% and our U.S. debit growth was also 9%, again same as last quarter. On the credit side, after some difficult quarters in consumer credit, we are turning the corner with growth of 6%, an increase from last quarter. Also commercial credit growth was in the mid-teens, up from the low teens last quarter. And outside of the U.S., volume growth was 16% on a local currency basis, and this continues to be driven by APMEA and Latin America with more than 15% growth and solid mid-teens growth in Europe.

Cross-border volume grew 17% on a local currency basis to slightly down from the 18% growth that we saw in the fourth quarter. APMEA grew more than 20%, with Europe and Latin America in the high teens. And countries contributing to this cross-border volume growth this quarter include Australia, China, Russia, Italy, and Sweden. And we also saw some deceleration in Latin America and in Canada.

Turning to page five, here you see process transactions. They grew almost 14% globally to more than 9.8 billion. We saw double-digit growth in most regions with particular strength in APMEA and Europe. And globally the number of cards grew 8% to just over 2 billion MasterCard and Maestro branded cards.

So let me turn to page six for some insights on a few of our revenue line items. Domestic assessments grew 8%, while worldwide GDV grew 14%. And the gap between those two growth rates is 6 PPT, which is driven primarily by the contribution of higher growth outside the U.S. with lower than average revenue yields. Also many of these non-U.S. markets fall into the category of emerging markets, where the growth of ATM transactions is often higher than POS transactions. Cross-border volume fees grew 17%, in line with cross-border volume growth. But when you drill down into the detail, 10 percentage points of pricing, the majority of which laps in this quarter was essentially offset by a higher mix of intra-European activity.

Transaction processing fee grew 14%, in line with the 14% growth in process transactions I just spoke about. And overall, as I said earlier, net revenue growth was 14% both on an as-reported and FX-adjusted basis as the impact of the euro and the real offset each other. Beyond those two currencies, we had a roughly 2 PPT headwind from the weakening of other local currencies such as the Russian ruble, the Canadian dollar, the Australian dollar, and the Turkish lira, mostly in the domestic assessment in the cross-border revenue categories.

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