MasterCard net income rises in 3Q on int'l growth

MasterCard net income rises strongly in third quarter as overseas business thrives

Associated Press

MasterCard's net income rose strongly in the third quarter as its overseas business thrived, the company said Wednesday.

The payments company's business grew by virtually every measure. It processed 8.7 billion transactions, an increase of 24 percent over last year. Excluding the U.S., people spent 15 percent more money using MasterCard-branded cards on a local-currency basis. Americans spent about 7 percent more using MasterCard plastic.

The overall volume of purchases rose 12 percent on a local currency basis to $676 billion.

MasterCard's business grew as it won new partnerships overseas and a acquired a loyalty reward provider in the U.S. The company "won significant business in Europe this quarter with Nordea, Credit Agricole and CSOB in the Czech Republic," president and CEO Ajay Banga said in a statement.

Banga said there are plenty more opportunities to grow in emerging markets. The largest supermarket chain in East Africa is expected to deliver more than a million prepaid loyalty cards to customers, he noted. In the U.S. and Mexico, MasterCard has won contracts with several large government agencies, Banga said.

The payments network, based in Purchase, N.Y., said that its net income rose to $772 million, or $6.17 per share, from $717 million, or $5.63 per share in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose 5 percent, to $1.92 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30 from $1.82 billion a year ago.

MasterCard's future looks brighter as it nears a final settlement in a massive class-action lawsuit brought by retailers. MasterCard, Visa and major banks have agreed to pay retailers $7.25 billion for alleged fee fixing. Despite pushback from some large retailers, the deal is expected to gain court approval in the coming months.

MasterCard already has taken charges to reflect the costs of that and related lawsuits, which are expected to cost a total of $790 million. The company took a writedown of $770 million in the fourth quarter of last year and another $20 million charge in this year's second quarter.

MasterCard said it bought back 500,000 shares of common stock for $216 million in the third quarter. Repurchasing shares is a way of returning value to shareholders by reducing the number of shares outstanding.

So far this quarter, the company has repurchased another 255,000 shares for $119 million, it said.

The earnings result beat analysts' expectations, while revenue fell just short, according to a survey by FactSet.

MasterCard shares fell $1.98 to $451 in pre-market trading.

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Daniel Wagner can be reached at www.twitter.com/wagnerreports.

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