MasterCard Incorporated (NYSE: MA) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012. The company reported net income of $605 million, up 18%, and earnings per diluted share of $4.86, up 21%, in each case versus the year-ago period, excluding a special item representing a charge related to the U.S. merchant litigations taken in the fourth quarter of 2011. These net income and earnings per diluted share growth figures are reconciled to their comparable GAAP measures in the accompanying financial tables. Net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $1.9 billion, a 10% increase versus the same period in 2011. Adjusted for currency, net revenue increased 12%. Net revenue growth was driven by the impact of the following:
An increase in processed transactions of 20%, to 9.2 billion;
An increase in cross-border volumes of 17%; and
A 14% increase in gross dollar volume, on a local currency basis, to $986 billion.
These factors were partially offset by an increase in rebates and incentives, primarily due to new and renewed agreements and increased volumes. Worldwide purchase volume during the quarter was up 13% on a local currency basis versus the fourth quarter of 2011, to $727 billion. As of December 31, 2012, the company’s customers had issued 1.9 billion MasterCard and Maestro-branded cards. “We are pleased with our fourth-quarter results, which saw double-digit growth in net revenue, cross-border volume and processed transactions,” said Ajay Banga, MasterCard president and CEO. “We are gaining traction in our U.S. credit business with some recent wins, continuing to experience momentum in our mobile initiatives around the world, and securing important business in emerging markets like Africa and Brazil.” Total operating expenses increased 3%, to $996 million, during the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, excluding the special item. Adjusted for currency, operating expenses increased 4%. The increase in total operating expenses was primarily driven by an increase in the number of employees in support of strategic growth initiatives and the net impact of foreign exchange activity, partially offset by lower advertising and marketing expenses. Including the special item from 2011, total operating expenses decreased 43% from the year-ago period.