Western Union Q2 profits exceed estimates

Source: The Western Union Company

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) today reported financial results for the 2015 second quarter and updated its full year financial outlook, which was previously provided on April 30, 2015.

“Based on our performance to date and our projections for the remainder of the year, we are pleased to be able to increase our full year outlooks for adjusted earnings per share and constant currency revenue growth.”

On a constant currency basis, second quarter revenues increased 4% compared to the prior year period. Reported revenues declined 2%, primarily due to the impact of the stronger U.S. dollar. Earnings per share, excluding the impact of the previously announced Paymap settlement agreement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), increased 14% to $0.41. GAAP EPS was $0.36.

For the full year, the Company increased its expected EPS outlook, excluding the settlement impact, to a range of approximately $1.60 to $1.67. The constant currency revenue range outlook was also raised. The GAAP EPS outlook range is approximately $1.55 to $1.62.

“We posted another quarter of solid results, with improved constant currency revenue trends across all our business segments, despite some geopolitical and global economic challenges,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Hikmet Ersek. “Westernunion.com growth also accelerated in the quarter. Our global digital presence is expanding quickly, as we continue to advance our omnichannel strategy for cross border money movement.”

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Raj Agrawal stated, “Based on our performance to date and our projections for the remainder of the year, we are pleased to be able to increase our full year outlooks for adjusted earnings per share and constant currency revenue growth.”

“In the quarter, consumer money transfer trends benefited from ongoing strength from U.S. Outbound and high digital growth across most of our online markets. Western Union Business Solutions and Consumer Bill Payments also delivered good results. In addition, cost savings initiatives and foreign exchange hedges helped drive operating margin improvement, and we continued to generate and deploy healthy cash flow for our shareholders,” Agrawal added.

In the second quarter Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) revenues declined 3%, although transactions and constant currency revenues each increased 3%. Westernunion.com C2C revenue increased 22%, or 28% constant currency, on transaction growth of 27%. Electronic channels revenue, which includes westernunion.com, account based money transfer through banks, and mobile money transfer, increased 19% in the quarter and represented 7% of total Company revenues.

Consumer-to-Business (C2B) revenues grew 8% in the quarter, or 12% constant currency, driven by the Argentina walk-in and the U.S. electronic bill payments businesses.

Western Union Business Solutions revenues decreased 1%, or increased 9% on a constant currency basis. Constant currency growth was driven by Europe and led by strong sales of hedging instruments.

In the quarter, the Company recorded a pre-tax charge of $35.3 million related to its Paymap subsidiary’s settlement with the CFPB. The CFPB previously claimed that certain aspects of the marketing of Paymap’s Equity Accelerator service violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s prohibition against unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices. The Company agreed to resolve the matter without admitting or denying the allegations. After-tax, the charge amounted to $24.2 million, or $0.05 per share.

Operating margin excluding the impact of the settlement was 20.7% for the quarter, which compares to 19.8% in the second quarter of 2014. The operating margin improvement primarily resulted from cost savings initiatives and the net impact of foreign currency movements, which were partially offset by increases in incentive compensation, compliance and technology costs. While foreign currency movements negatively impacted revenues and profits in the quarter, the operating margin benefitted as a result of gains on foreign exchange hedges. GAAP operating margin was 18.1% in the quarter.

Earnings per share excluding the settlement increased 14% to $0.41, compared to $0.36 in the prior year period. The earnings per share increase was driven by operating margin expansion, a lower effective tax rate, and fewer shares outstanding. The effective tax rate, excluding the impact of the settlement, was 11.8%. GAAP earnings per share were $0.36 in the quarter, with an effective tax rate of 8.5%.

The Company returned $235 million to shareholders in the second quarter, consisting of $156 million of share repurchases and $79 million of dividends. Year-to-date, cash flow from operating activities totaled $466 million and the same amount has been returned to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.

2015 Full Year Outlook

The Company updated its outlook for 2015 (adjusted metrics exclude the impact of the Paymap settlement):


  • Low to mid-single digit constant currency revenue increase (previously low single digit increase)
  • Low to mid-single digit GAAP revenue decrease

Operating Profit Margin

  • Adjusted operating margin of approximately 21%
  • GAAP operating margin of approximately 20%

Earnings per Share

  • Adjusted EPS in a range of approximately $1.60 to $1.67 (previously a range of approximately $1.58 to $1.65)
  • GAAP EPS in a range of approximately $1.55 to $1.62

Cash Flow

  • Cash flow from operating activities of approximately $1 billion. The cash flow outlook excludes $100 million of anticipated final tax payments relating to the agreement announced with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in December 2011. Some or all of these payments may occur in 2015.

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