Visa's Stock Has 16% Upside: KBW

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Visa ( V) late on Wednesday announced very strong earnings results for its fiscal third quarter, and despite an extended run-up for the payment processor's shares, KBW analyst Sanjay Sakhrani still sees 16% upside for the stock.

Visa's fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. The company reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $1.225 billion, or $1.88 a share, compared to a net loss of $1.839 billion, or $2.74 a share a year earlier, when Visa set aside $4.1 billion for its portion of a huge settlement between card processors and major banks, including JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Bank of America ( BAC), and a group of retailers over anticompetitive processing fees.

Adjusting for the year-earlier settlement expenses and tax benefits, Visa said its fiscal third-quarter earnings were up 16% year over year, while earnings per share were up 20%. The huge gain in EPS came about in part because the company's share buybacks lowered the weighted average count of Class A common shares to 651 million in the most recent quarter, from 681 million a year earlier.

Visa bought back 6 million shares during the most recent quarter, at an average price of $176.75 a share, for a total of $981 million, and on Wednesday announced a new $1.5 billion share repurchase program.

Visa's shares were up 2% in premarket trading Thursday, to $190.10.

The company said its fiscal third-quarter net operating revenue -- again on an adjusted basis -- was $3 billion during the fiscal third quarter, increasing 17% year over year, "driven by strong growth in service revenues, data processing revenues and international transaction revenues."

"Visa delivered solid financial performance during our fiscal third quarter and we remain confident in delivering our guidance for fiscal year 2013," said CEO Charlie Scharf, in the company's earnings release. He added that the company was "accelerating opportunities to expand our network through mobile, eCommerce and data-driven solutions, while continuing to deliver value to our shareholders."

The company said payment processing volume on a constant volume basis was up 13% year-over-year to $1.1 trillion during the most recent quarter.

Visa's shares closed at $186.85 Wednesday. The shares have returned 24% this year through Wednesday's close, following a 50% return during 2012. The shares trade for 21.2 times the consensus fiscal 2014 earnings estimate of $8.82 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

KBW analyst Sanjay Sakhrani rates Visa "outperform," and late on Wednesday reiterated his price target of $217, which would represent 16% upside over the next 12 months from Wednesday's close. The analyst raised his fiscal 2014 earnings estimate for Visa to $8.88 a share from $8.60.

"Visa reported a solid quarter with key underlying metrics performing well and the company making a positive revision to guidance. Overall, there wasn't a lot to pick on and we believe the company is setup nicely to close out F2013," the analyst wrote in a note to clients.

The company clarified its guidance for fiscal 2013 revenue growth to 13% from its previous guidance of "low double digits," while raising its guidance for fiscal 2013 EPS growth to the "low twenties" from the previous guidance of 20%. For 2014, Visa's outlook is unchanged. The company expects annual revenue growth in the "low double digits" with EPS growing in the "mid to high teens."

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-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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