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.
Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2012 increased 18% over the year-ago period, excluding the special item, and the company delivered an operating margin of 47.4%.
MasterCard's effective tax rate was 32.4% in the fourth quarter of 2012, versus a rate of 32.3% in the comparable period in 2011, excluding the special item.
During the fourth quarter of 2012, MasterCard repurchased 1.3 million shares of class A common stock at a cost of approximately $613 million. Quarter-to-date through January 25, the company repurchased an additional 322,000 shares at a cost of approximately $165 million, with $440 million remaining under the current repurchase program authorization.
Full-Year 2012 Results
For the year ended December 31, 2012, MasterCard reported net income of $2.8 billion, up 15%, and earnings per diluted share of $22.04, up 18%, in each case versus the year-ago period and excluding special items in both 2011 and 2012. The special item in 2012 was an incremental charge taken in the second quarter related to the U.S. merchant litigations. Including this special item, full-year 2012 net income remained $2.8 billion and earnings per diluted share was $21.94.
Net revenue for full-year 2012 was $7.4 billion, an increase of 10% versus 2011. Adjusted for currency, net revenue increased 13%. Processed transaction growth of 25%, gross dollar volume growth of 15% and cross-border volume growth of 16% contributed to the net revenue growth in the full-year period. These increases were partially offset by an increase in rebates and incentives due to new and renewed customer agreements and increased volumes.
Excluding special items in both years, total operating expenses increased 6%, to $3.4 billion, for 2012 compared to 2011, primarily due to higher personnel costs related to strategic initiatives and partially offset by lower advertising and marketing expenses. Adjusted for currency, total operating expenses increased 8%. Including special items, total operating expenses in 2012 decreased 14%, to $3.5 billion, versus 2011.
Excluding special items, operating income increased 14% for 2012 versus 2011, delivering an operating margin of 53.5% for full-year 2012.
Total other expense was $5 million for full-year 2012 versus total other income of $33 million in 2011. This was primarily driven by lower investment income, increased expenses from investments in joint ventures and the non-recurrence of an adjustment to acquisition-related provisions made last year.
MasterCard's effective tax rate was 29.9% for full-year 2012, versus a rate of 31.8% for full-year 2011, excluding the special item in 2011. Including this special item, the effective tax rate was 30.6% for full-year 2011. The decrease in the 2012 effective tax rate was primarily due to discrete benefits related to additional export incentives and the conclusion of tax examinations in certain jurisdictions, as well as a benefit from a deduction related to the company's authorization software.
For full-year 2012, MasterCard repurchased 4.1 million shares at a cost of approximately $1.7 billion.