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PayPal’s Q2 Rattles Investors

According to PayPal, call it a hiccup, a delay, not a loss — and not lost sales.

Wall Street was down on PayPal’s growth forecasts when the payments giant reported earnings  Wednesday (July 24) afternoon after the bell, sending shares skidding roughly 7 percent.

On Wall Street, as in life, there’s the benefit of the doubt. This time around it seems a bit of a flip — call it the doubt of the benefit — in this case the benefit of business that is coming, sometime, down the line in the next few quarters, as management promised investors on Wednesday.

The headline numbers, the ones that sent the stock down, show slowing growth, as CEO Dan Schulman said that revenue growth would be in the range of 14 percent to 15 percent for the year  That  means that at the top end, sales would be $17.8 billion, where the Street had estimated $17.9 billion.

And the culprits, according to commentary, boil down to product delays and currency headwinds.

For the quarter, the company posted earnings per share that surged 47 percent, to 86 cents, which included 14 cents worth of gains on investments in companies such as Uber, where estimates had been 75 cents. Revenues were up 12 percent to $4.31 billion, which were just shy of the Street estimate at $4.32 billion as measured on an FX neutral basis.

Payments volume growth was also considerable at 24 percent in the quarter, on a spot basis, to $172.4 billion, which was above estimates cited by Bloomberg, but did mark a slowdown from 29 percent as seen in the same quarter a year ago.

The guidance for growth that disappointed investors came amid a slower than anticipated revenue contribution from, for instance, a partnership struck with MercadoLibre to serve users via PayPal in Latin America has not ramped up yet. Beyond that, management also said that a partnership with bill payment company Paymentus Corp has yet to be fully contributing.

“I’ll emphasize that, when you’re a company our size that is growing at the rate that we are, oftentimes we have to make educated guesses about the time frame of a lot of these launches taking place,” said Schulman on the conference all, adding that “sometimes you get into something and you see scope expansion, because of good opportunities or more complexity. And that results in a delay, such as the case that we’re seeing right now.”

Shulman and Chief Financial Officer John Rainey said that the deals will indeed have impact in coming quarters, contributing to revenues and earnings — a “when and not if” scenario.

Among bright spots in the quarter, according to management, the company added 9 million net new active users in the quarter, which was up 17 percent year over year.

Active Account Additions

“We now have 286 million active accounts on our platform, including 23 million merchants,” said Schulman, “and we remain on pace to exceed 300 million active accounts by the end of the year.”

He added later in the call that “engagement also continues to consistently improve growing by 9.3 percent to 39 transactions for active account,” he told analysts.

EBay continued to be a declining contributor, down 4 percent in the quarter and now is 9 percent of overall total payment volume (TPV), which is down 300 basis points from last year

Mobile TPV was up 37 percent year on year to 73 billion in the latest quarter.

In reference to Venmo, said Schulman, Venmo total payment volume increased 70 percent year-over-year to 24 billion transactions in the quarter, and “we continue to expect to drive nearly 100 billion in TPV by year-end,” he said, adding that 15 million Venmo users have engaged in monetizable transactions.

Instant lending is the largest monetizable transaction type with Venmo, said management, and the remainder is split between Venmo Card and Pay with Venmo.

He said, too, that business lending has topped $10 billion in funding through 650,000 loans to a quarter of a million businesses, cumulatively.

Rainey, in offering detail on international transactions, said that international revenues were up 18 percent.  About 20 percent of volume is cross border and the strength in the dollar will have an impact on second half revenues.   International expansion will happen in part with the recently announced entry of Xoom into 32 new markets.

He also said that the guidance anticipates a delay in pricing changes.  In response to analysts questions he elaborated that “we made some changes to our user agreement that allowed us the ability to make certain pricing changes … sometimes the knee-jerk reaction is to assume that all price changes are up. Sometimes we can decrease prices to go after more volume.”

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