Western Union (WU)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 25, 2011 4:30 pm ET


Hikmet Ersek - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Michael A. Salop - Senior Vice President of Investor Relations

Scott T. Scheirman - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President


Andrew W. Jeffrey - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division

Bryan Keane - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

James E. Friedman - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Julio C. Quinteros - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Ashwin Shirvaikar - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Kartik Mehta - Northcoast Research

Jason Kupferberg - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Tien-Tsin T Huang - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Thomas C. McCrohan - Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division

Robert P. Napoli - William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division

Glenn Fodor - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Darrin D. Peller - Barclays Capital, Research Division



Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Third Quarter 2011 Western Union Earnings Conference Call. My name is Jonathan, and I'm your operator for today. [Operator Instructions] And as a reminder, this conference call is being recorded for replay purposes. I'd now like to hand the call off to Mr. Mike Salop, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations. You may proceed, sir.

Michael A. Salop

Thank you, and good afternoon, everyone. On today's call, we will have comments from Hikmet Ersek, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and Scott Scheirman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. The slides that accompany this call and webcast can be found at westernunion.com under the Investor Relations tab and will remain available after the call. Additional operational statistics have been provided in a supplemental table with our press release. As a reminder, today's call is being recorded, and our comments include forward-looking statements. Please refer to the cautionary language in the earnings release and in Western Union's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the 2010 Form 10-K for additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. During the call, we will discuss some items that do not conform to generally accepted accounting principles. We have reconciled those items to the most comparable GAAP measures on our website, westernunion.com, under the Investor Relations section. All statements made by Western Union officers on this call are the property of the Western Union Company and subject to copyright protection. Other than the replay, Western Union has not authorized and disclaims responsibility for any recording, replay or distribution of any transcription of this call. I would now like to turn the call over to Hikmet Ersek.

Hikmet Ersek

Thank you, Mike, and welcome, everyone. Before I discuss the third quarter 2011 results, I would like to take a moment and make a comment regarding the devastating earthquake that struck 3 days ago in my home country, Turkey. Western Union expresses the deepest condolences to the families of the people who died and we wish all the best to those who are injured. To support recovery efforts, the Western Union Foundation is assisting the Turkish Red Crescent and we are also temporarily eliminating transfer fees for certain quarters in affected areas in East Anatolia so our consumers can support their loved ones.

Now turning back to our results. Our business continues to be resilient, with solid consumer-to-consumer trends overall, improved in consumer bill payments and a very strong quarter from Western Union Business Solutions. Total revenue increased 6% or 5% on a constant currency basis. As you are all aware, there are a lot of turbulences in the markets in the third quarter, and certainly, we are seeing economic challenges in some parts of the world. However, our consumers are loyal, our business is diversified and we remain on track to achieve the full year outlook for revenue that we provided in July. So we have moved our EPS outlook to be at the higher end of our previous range.

In the consumer-to-consumer segment, our geographic diversity and ability to react quickly to changing conditions allowed us to deliver solid results in the quarter. Trends moderated slightly from the second quarter as there was some slowdown in Southern Europe and Russia. However, steady results from the U.S. and the large markets in Europe as well as strength in Mexico led to 4% constant currency revenue growth in the quarter, reported revenue in C2C increased 6% and was aided by a stronger euro. I was pleased with my tour in Mexico last week and still see opportunity to grow our business there.

In the U.S., domestic money transfer continued its strong momentum, with revenue growth of 9% and transaction growth of 14%. Globally, our pricing remained steady and we now project declines of only 1% for the full year. I also just recently returned from a market tour of Europe and Russia. Despite the negative financial headlines in Europe, our business is holding up. We have strong agent relationships and loyal consumers in the region and our brand is well positioned. There are some competitive challenges from the local players in Russia as we need to develop a retail network to complement our bank/agent locations, but we have good action plans in place.

We also continued to extend our network around the world in the quarter, adding another 15,000 agent locations, which brings our total to 485,000 locations. The growth rate in Global Business Payments improved in the quarter, with 7% revenue growth driven by a very strong quarter from Western Union Business Solutions and consistent trends in the consumer bill payment business.

In consumer bill payment, we reported revenue growth of 2%, the second consecutive quarter of positive growth, led by our South American business and steady trends in the U.S. We recently rolled out our enhanced walk-in service across the U.S. and launched a national media promotion to make consumers aware of this convenient service with connections to over 10,000 dealers.

Western Business Solutions delivered 30% revenue growth in the quarter with strong performance across key markets, including Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Currency volatility most likely spurred more SME transactions and there was also some currency translation benefit, but there are still strong results and we are on track for a very good growth year in Business Solutions.

As we speak, there are many activities across the globe to capitalize on the business-to-business opportunity. We have signed additional Western Union Money Transfer agents who will now also sell the business-to-business service in certain markets with the Philippines already going alive. Online and mobile FX payments capabilities are now available for SMEs in the market such as France, Germany, Ireland and Italy.

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