Western Union Misses On Earnings, Announces 10 Percent Staff Cut 

Western Union’s stock price was down in after hours trading, after missing on earnings but lodging a narrow beat on revenue.

Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) came in at $0.45 per share, missing analyst consensus estimates of $0.48 per share. This compares to earnings of $0.46 per share a year ago. Net income of $614.8 million, or $1.42 a share, in the second quarter, compared with $217.6 million, or 47 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue came in a $1.34 billion in the second quarter, ahead of analysts estimates of 0.07 percent but down from revenue last year at this time by  $1.41 billion. The company has topped consensus revenue estimates just once over the last four quarters.

In other critical statistics, Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) revenues made 83 percent of WU’s revenue in the quarter, and saw a 1 percent decline on a reported basis, or increased 1 percent constant currency, while transactions grew by 1 percent. Latin America showed the strongest growth and offset declines in the Asia Pacific region and in the U.S. domestic market. Westernunion.com C2C revenues went up 18 percent on a reported basis, or 20 percent constant currency, and transactions increased 15 percent. Westernunion.com is now available in 70 nations and represented 13 percent of total C2C revenue.

Western Union Business Solutions revenue was up 3 percent on a reported basis, or 7 percent on a constant currency basis. Europe, Australia were the strongest drivers All in 7 percent of total company revenue in the quarter.

“Our second quarter results were stable, and strong growth in digital continued, with particularly impressive results in cross-border digital transactions. We also saw more leading global brands turn to Western Union for our unique cross-border capabilities. We remain on track to deliver on our 2019 outlook, excluding the costs related to the operating model changes we announced today,” President and CEO Hikmet Ersek said of the result.

The biggest news on the day was Western Union’s announcement that it plans to reduce its work force by 10 percent. The company had roughly 12,000 employees at the end of 2018, according to regulatory filings. The job cuts are part of the company's new global strategy designed to improve efficiency, profitability and long-term revenue growth with a focus on expanding its cross-border money movement solutions.

“We are extremely excited to begin implementing our new strategy," Ersek said. "The changes we announced today are being made from a position of strength and this is the first step in a larger plan that will not only reduce our structural cost base but allow us to expand the WU Platform to new customers, clients and global brands.”

Western Union Executive Vice President and CFO Raj Agrawal noted that the new structure reduces the firm’s cost structure, and that they expect these savings to contribute to operating profit and drive margin expansion for the business.  But, given the restructure, WU did lower its earnings guidance for the year. It now expects earnings per share of $2.47 to $2.57. It had previously guided for $2.66 to $2.76. It expects adjusted earnings per share of $1.70 to $1.80.



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