The Western Union's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

The Western Union (WU)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 24, 2012 8:30 am ET


Michael A. Salop - Senior Vice President of Investor Relations

Hikmet Ersek - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

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


Darrin D. Peller - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Bryan Keane - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

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

Ashwin Shirvaikar - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

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

Vasundhara Govil - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

James F. Kissane - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

David Togut - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

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

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



Good morning, and welcome to the Western Union First Quarter 2012 Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] Please note, this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Mike Salop, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Michael A. Salop

Thank you. And good morning, everyone. On today's call, Hikmet Ersek, Western Union's President and Chief Executive Officer; and Scott Scheirman, EVP, Chief Financial Officer and Global Operations, will discuss 2012 first quarter results. Following the remarks, we will open the call for questions.

The slides that accompany this call and webcast can be found at under the Investor Relations tab and will remain available after the call. Additional operational statistics have been provided in supplemental tables with our press release.

As we noted in our February earnings call, beginning with this quarter, Western Union has implemented a new segment structure to reflect the acquisition of Travelex Global Business Payments, management changes and strategic initiatives. We now classify segments as Consumer-to-Consumer, Consumer-to-Business, Business Solutions and other. The Consumer-to-Consumer segment has not changed from our previous reporting. Other primarily includes retail money order, prepaid and Mobile Money Transfer. Within Consumer-to-Consumer, we now provide metrics on 6 regions. These include Europe and the CIS, North America, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and online money transfer. Our India and South Asia business is now included in the Asia Pacific region. As a result of reporting these additional regions, we will no longer be providing individual country metrics in our supplemental tables. However, we will give you color on country performance and will continue to provide domestic money transfer and Mexico results throughout 2012. We issued an 8-K last week, which describes the new segments and regions as well as provides historical reclassifications.

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 2011 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,, 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 noted in our press release, Western Union has not authorized and disclaims responsibility for any recording, replay or distribution of any transcription of this call.

I'd now like to turn the call over to Hikmet Ersek.

Hikmet Ersek

Thank you, Mike, and welcome, everyone.

Overall, our performance in the quarter was generally in line with our expectations, and we made some good progress in our 3 strategic growth areas of Global Consumer Financial Services, Business Solutions and Ventures.

In consumer-to-consumer money transfer, our revenue growth accelerated compared to the fourth quarter as constant currency revenue growth increased to 5%. Our North American business was generally strong, and we also saw improved revenue trends in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions. U.S. domestic money transfer continued to deliver good growth, and Mexico revenue increased in the quarter. The expected softness in Europe and Russia is here and we did see flat results for the region compared to a year ago, but revenue trends were slightly improved relative to the fourth quarter.

We made more progress in advancing our class-of-trade strategies in money transfer. We recently signed SunTrust Bank as an agent in the U.S., adding to a list that includes U.S. Bank, KeyBank, Regions, Fifth Third and others. Globally, almost 60% of our Western Union agent locations are banks and post offices, but we are also widely present in retail supermarkets, travel agents, other financial services and many more classes of trade.

I'm also very pleased to announce that in April we reached 500,000 agent locations around the world. This is a huge milestone in Western Union's 160 years of history. We believe the expansion of our presence in 200 countries and territories will continue and it will remain a competitive advantage to grow our core money transfer and other products.

Beyond our core Global Consumer Financial Services, we are also making progress evolving our new businesses. Although our Business Solutions pro forma revenue growth of 5% was below our target due to some softness in North America and the U.K., our new customer acquisitions remained strong and our geographic expansion is progressing. Business Solutions is now able to offer services directly or through partners in 25 countries. Our integration efforts with Travelex are on track. Our growth strategies are being implemented, and we remain committed to low double-digit constant currency revenue growth for this business over the next several years.

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