Earnings

Western Union Beats Street

Western Union announced Thursday (Feb. 9) that it posted fourth quarter revenue of $1.4 billion, marking a 1 percent decline compared to last year’s fourth quarter but up 4 percent on a constant currency basis.

For the fourth quarter, Western Union reported a loss of $0.73 a share. Excluding charges, fourth quarter EPS came in at $0.47, higher than the $0.42 it reported in the year-ago fourth quarter.

“We are pleased to have delivered a solid business performance in the fourth quarter, despite ongoing macro challenges,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Hikmet Ersek said in the press release. “Our digital efforts continue to produce notable results, with westernunion.com money transfer achieving 28 percent transaction growth in the quarter. These results demonstrate the resilience of our business, and in 2017, we are also engaging in comprehensive efforts to transform our operating model to drive efficiencies and accelerate future growth.”

According to Western Union, strong cash flow generation continued to be the name of the game in the fourth quarter. Chief Financial Officer Raj Agrawal noted the company returned close to $800 million to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks and dividends and expects more of the same this year. Western Union raised its cash quarterly dividend by 9 percent to $0.175 per common share and committed to buying back $1.2 billion in shares. That program expires at the end of Dec. 2019 and is in addition to the $231 million remaining under its previous share buyback plan. During the fourth quarter, Western Union said consumer-to-consumer revenues were flat or up 3 percent on a constant currency basis, while consumer-to-business revenues fell 4 percent from the year-ago fourth quarter but increased 9 percent on a constant currency basis. Western Union Business Solutions revenues declined 3 percent or were up 1 percent on a constant currency basis.

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