Strong digital money transfer revenue growth
2019 operating cash flow of $915 million; over $1 billion adjusted
Over $880 million of cash returned to shareholders in 2019
DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments, today reported financial results for the 2019 fourth quarter and full year, and provided its financial outlook for 2020.
In the fourth quarter, the Company generated revenue of $1.3 billion, a decline of 7% on a reported basis or an increase of 3% in adjusted constant currency terms compared to the prior year period. The strengthening of the dollar against the Argentine peso negatively impacted reported revenue by approximately 2% in the quarter, while the effects of inflation on the Company’s Argentina-based businesses are estimated to have positively impacted revenue by approximately 1%.
GAAP earnings per share in the fourth quarter was $0.32 compared to $0.48 in the prior year period, and adjusted earnings per share in the fourth quarter was $0.38 compared to $0.51 in the prior year. The decline in both GAAP and adjusted earnings per share was primarily due to a higher effective tax rate, the impact of the divestiture of the Speedpay and Paymap businesses in May of 2019, and higher marketing investment compared to the prior year period, partially offset by fewer shares outstanding. GAAP and adjusted tax rates in the fourth quarter of 2019 were the highest of the year, as expected, and were further increased by one-time settlements in certain geographies. The GAAP rate also included additional taxes associated with the May 2019 divestitures.
CEO Hikmet Ersek said, “I’m pleased with the progress of our business in the fourth quarter, as we continued to deliver strong digital growth and solid financial results. Importantly, we began implementing a number of initiatives from our new strategy and productivity program, and we start 2020 with good momentum for achieving the 2022 targets we laid out at our September investor day.”
The Company’s 2020 financial outlook calls for margin expansion and adjusted EPS growth in the teens, and the Company increased its quarterly dividend by 13% to $0.225 per common share, payable March 31, 2020 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 17, 2020.
CFO Raj Agrawal said, “Our solid underlying performance and focus on efficiency in 2019 generated strong profits and cash flow that enabled us to return over $880 million to shareholders, through dividends and repurchases, while funding our growth strategy. We remain confident in our ability to deliver strong financial performance in 2020 and beyond, and are pleased to announce an increase in our quarterly dividend.”
Q4 Business Unit Highlights
Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) revenues, which represented 86% of total Company revenue in the quarter, were flat on a reported basis, or increased 1% constant currency, while transactions declined 1%. Geographically, constant currency revenue growth was driven by cross-border sends originated in Europe, the U.S. and Latin America, partially offset by declines in Asia Pacific, U.S. domestic money transfer, and certain countries with civil unrest, macro-economic, and market specific issues.
Digital money transfer revenues increased 24% on a reported basis, or 25% constant currency, in the quarter including westernunion.com and third-party white label digital services. Westernunion.com C2C revenues increased 17% on a reported basis and 18% on a constant currency basis, including cross-border revenue growth of 26%. Westernunion.com revenues represented 15% of total C2C revenue in the quarter and the service is now available in over 70 countries, plus additional territories, with bank account payout in over 100 countries and retail payout in over 200 countries and territories.
- Western Union Business Solutions revenue was flat on a reported basis, or increased 1% constant currency, with constant currency growth driven by strong performance generated from customers in Europe. Business Solutions represented 7% of total Company revenue in the quarter.
- Other revenues, which primarily consist of retail bill payments businesses in the U.S. and Argentina, declined 52%. The reduction was due to the divestitures of the Speedpay and Paymap businesses in May of 2019 and the impact of the depreciation of the Argentine peso. Other revenues represented 7% of total Company revenue in the quarter.
Additional Q4 Financial Highlights
- GAAP operating margin in the quarter was 17.3% compared to 19.3% in the prior year period. The decline in operating margin was primarily due to higher marketing investment compared to the prior year period, the impact of the restructuring expense in the current quarter and the divestiture of Speedpay in May of 2019.
- Adjusted operating margin in the quarter was 18.7% compared to 19.9% in the prior year period. The decrease in adjusted operating margin was primarily due to the higher marketing investment and the Speedpay divestiture.
- The GAAP effective tax rate in the quarter was 31.4% compared to 9.8% in the prior year period, while the adjusted tax rate was 24.5% compared to 6.8% in the prior year period. The GAAP and adjusted rates in the fourth quarter of 2018 included certain discrete benefits. GAAP and adjusted rates in the fourth quarter of 2019 were the highest of the year, as expected, and were further increased by one-time settlements in certain geographies. The GAAP rate also included additional taxes associated with the May 2019 divestitures.
- The Company returned $149 million to shareholders in the fourth quarter, consisting of $65 million in share repurchases and $84 million of dividends.
2019 Full Year Financial Highlights
- The Company’s full year revenue declined 5%, or increased 3% on an adjusted constant currency basis, compared to the prior year. The strengthening of the dollar against the Argentine peso reduced reported revenue growth by approximately 3%, while the impact of inflation on the Company’s Argentina-based businesses is estimated to have positively impacted revenue growth by approximately 2%.
- GAAP operating margin was 17.6% compared to 20.1% in the prior year. The reduction in GAAP operating margin was primarily due to the impact of restructuring expense and the divestiture of the Speedpay business.
- Adjusted operating margin was 20.1% compared to 20.3% in the prior year, which was down slightly due to higher marketing investment.
- The GAAP effective tax rate for the year was 19.9% compared to 14.1% in the prior year, which increased primarily due to the net gain on the sales of the Speedpay and Paymap businesses and various one-time net discrete benefits in the prior year period, after adjustments associated with the Tax Act. The adjusted tax rate of 19.7% for the full year compares to 12.0% for 2018, which primarily reflects various one-time discrete benefits in the prior year.
- GAAP earnings per share was $2.46 compared to $1.87 in the prior year. The increase in earnings per share was primarily due to the gain on the sale of the Speedpay business and fewer shares outstanding, partially offset by the impact of restructuring expenses and a higher effective tax rate.
- Adjusted earnings per share was $1.73 compared to $1.95 in 2018. The decline in adjusted earnings per share was primarily due to a higher adjusted effective tax rate and the impact of the divestitures, which were partially offset by fewer shares outstanding.
- GAAP cash flow from operating activities for the year was $915 million, while adjusted operating cash flow was $1.1 billion for the year. The Company returned $881 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases for the full year.
The Company is affirming its three-year financial targets including operating margin of approximately 23% in 2022 and a low double-digit EPS CAGR for the three years ending 20221.
The Company expects the following outlook for 2020:
- GAAP: flat to low single-digit decline, primarily due to the divestiture of our domestic bill payments business, Speedpay, in May 2019
- Adjusted constant currency: low single-digit increase, excluding any benefit related to Argentina inflation
Operating Profit Margin
- GAAP operating margin of approximately 20% and adjusted operating margin of approximately 21%
- GAAP and adjusted effective tax rate in a mid-teens range
Earnings per Share
- GAAP EPS in a range of $1.87 to $1.97
- Adjusted EPS in a range of $1.95 to $2.05
- GAAP cash flow from operating activities of approximately $900 million
- Adjusted cash flow from operating activities of approximately $1.0 billion
CAGR compared to 2019 adjusted EPS of $1.73
Adjusted constant currency revenue growth metrics for 2020 are anticipated to exclude revenues for the Speedpay and Paymap businesses in the prior year period, each of which was divested in May 2019. Adjusted operating profit, tax rate, and earnings per share metrics for 2020 periods are anticipated to exclude restructuring expenses and acquisition and divestiture costs, net of related tax benefits, as applicable. Adjusted cash flow from operating activities for 2020 is anticipated to exclude the impact of payments for restructuring expenses and acquisition and divestiture costs, net of related tax payments.
Adjusted constant currency revenue metrics for 2019 exclude revenues for the Speedpay and Paymap businesses, which were each divested in May. Adjusted operating profit metrics for 2019 periods exclude restructuring expenses and acquisition and divestiture costs. Adjusted tax rate and earnings per share metrics for 2019 periods exclude the impact of the net gain on the Speedpay and Paymap divestitures, restructuring expenses, and acquisition and divestiture costs. Adjusted cash flow from operating activities for 2019 periods excludes the impact of payments for restructuring expenses, acquisition and divestiture costs, and taxes on the net gain on the Speedpay and Paymap divestitures, including the tax benefits related to base erosion anti-abuse tax (BEAT). Restructuring expenses are not included in operating segment results.
Although the Company has previously incurred and can reasonably be expected to incur restructuring costs in the future, these expenses are specific to the implementation of the new Global Strategy initiative and the Company has therefore provided adjusted financial results that exclude these expenses.
Adjusted constant currency revenue metrics for 2018 periods exclude revenues for the Speedpay and Paymap businesses, each of which was divested in May of 2019. Adjusted operating profit metrics exclude acquisition and divestiture costs. Adjusted tax rates and earnings per share for 2018 periods exclude the impacts of the acquisition and divestiture costs and tax expense related to changes in estimates for the provisional accounting for the Tax Act. These items have been excluded to provide comparability with 2019 adjusted metrics.
Additional key statistics for the quarter and historical trends can be found in the supplemental tables included with this press release.
All amounts included in the supplemental tables to this press release are rounded to the nearest tenth of a million, except as otherwise noted. As a result, the percentage changes and margins disclosed herein may not recalculate precisely using the rounded amounts provided.
Western Union presents a number of non-GAAP financial measures because management believes that these metrics provide meaningful supplemental information in addition to the GAAP metrics and provide comparability and consistency to prior periods. Constant currency results assume foreign revenues are translated from foreign currencies to the U.S. dollar, net of the effect of foreign currency hedges, at rates consistent with those in the prior year.
These non-GAAP financial measures include the following: (1) consolidated revenue change constant currency adjusted and excluding Speedpay and Paymap, (2) Consumer-to-Consumer segment revenue change constant currency adjusted, (3) Consumer-to-Consumer segment westernunion.com and digital money transfer revenue change constant currency adjusted, (4) Business Solutions segment revenue change constant currency adjusted, (5) operating margin, excluding, as applicable, restructuring-related expenses and acquisition and divestiture costs, (6) diluted earnings per share, excluding, as applicable, restructuring-related expenses, acquisition and divestiture costs, gain on sales of Speedpay and Paymap, and Tax Act, (7) effective tax rate, excluding, as applicable, restructuring-related expenses, acquisition and divestiture costs, gain on sales of Speedpay and Paymap, and Tax Act, (8) cash flows from operating activities, adjusted, excluding, as applicable, cash payments related to restructuring-related expenses, acquisition and divestiture costs, and impact from tax payments related to net gain on Speedpay and Paymap divestiture, net of related reductions to tax payments, (9) operating margin outlook, adjusted, excluding restructuring-related expenses and acquisition and divestiture costs, (10) earnings per share outlook, adjusted, excluding restructuring-related expenses and acquisition and divestiture costs, (11) operating cash flow outlook, excluding estimated cash payments related to restructuring-related expenses and acquisition and divestiture costs, and (12) additional measures found in the supplemental tables included with this press release.
Reconciliations of non-GAAP to comparable GAAP measures are available in the accompanying schedules and in the “Investor Relations” section of the Company’s website at http://ir.westernunion.com.
Investor and Analyst Conference Call and Slide Presentation
The Company will host a conference call and webcast, including slides, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time today. To listen to the conference call via telephone, dial +1 (888) 317-6003 (U.S.) or +1 (412) 317-6061 (outside the U.S.) ten minutes prior to the start of the call. The pass code is 5648629.
The conference call and accompanying slides will be available via webcast at http://ir.westernunion.com. Registration for the event is required, so please register at least five minutes prior to the scheduled start time.
A webcast replay will be available at http://ir.westernunion.com.
Please note: All statements made by Western Union officers on this call are the property of Western Union and subject to copyright protection. Other than the replay, Western Union has not authorized, and disclaims responsibility for, any recording, replay or distribution of any transcription of this call.
Safe Harbor Compliance Statement for Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains certain statements that are forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, our forward-looking statements. Words such as "expects," "intends," "targets," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "guides," "provides guidance," "provides outlook" and other similar expressions or future or conditional verbs such as "may," "will," "should," "would," "could," and "might" are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Readers of this press release of The Western Union Company (the "Company," "Western Union," "we," "our" or "us") should not rely solely on the forward-looking statements and should consider all uncertainties and risks discussed in the "Risk Factors" section and throughout the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018. The statements are only as of the date they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement. Possible events or factors that could cause results or performance to differ materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements include the following: (i) events related to our business and industry, such as: changes in general economic conditions and economic conditions in the regions and industries in which we operate, including global economic downturns and trade disruptions, or significantly slower growth or declines in the money transfer, payment service, and other markets in which we operate, including downturns or declines related to interruptions in migration patterns or other events, such as civil unrest, war, terrorism, natural disasters, or public health emergencies or epidemics, or non-performance by our banks, lenders, insurers, or other financial services providers; failure to compete effectively in the money transfer and payment service industry, including among other things, with respect to price, with global and niche or corridor money transfer providers, banks and other money transfer and payment service providers, including electronic, mobile and internet-based services, card associations, and card-based payment providers, and with digital currencies and related protocols, and other innovations in technology and business models; political conditions and related actions, including trade restrictions and government sanctions, in the United States and abroad, which may adversely affect our business and economic conditions as a whole, including interruptions of United States or other government relations with countries in which we have or are implementing significant business relationships with agents or clients; deterioration in customer confidence in our business, or in money transfer and payment service providers generally; our ability to adopt new technology and develop and gain market acceptance of new and enhanced services in response to changing industry and consumer needs or trends; changes in, and failure to manage effectively, exposure to foreign exchange rates, including the impact of the regulation of foreign exchange spreads on money transfers and payment transactions; any material breach of security, including cybersecurity, or safeguards of or interruptions in any of our systems or those of our vendors or other third parties; cessation of or defects in various services provided to us by third-party vendors; mergers, acquisitions, and the integration of acquired businesses and technologies into our Company, divestitures, and the failure to realize anticipated financial benefits from these transactions, and events requiring us to write down our goodwill; decisions to change our business mix; our ability to realize the anticipated benefits from restructuring-related initiatives, which may include decisions to downsize or to transition operating activities from one location to another, and to minimize any disruptions in our workforce that may result from those initiatives; failure to manage credit and fraud risks presented by our agents, clients, and consumers; failure to maintain our agent network and business relationships under terms consistent with or more advantageous to us than those currently in place, including due to increased costs or loss of business as a result of increased compliance requirements or difficulty for us, our agents, or their subagents in establishing or maintaining relationships with banks needed to conduct our services; changes in tax laws, or their interpretation, any subsequent regulation, and potential related state income tax impacts, and unfavorable resolution of tax contingencies; adverse rating actions by credit rating agencies; our ability to protect our brands and our other intellectual property rights and to defend ourselves against potential intellectual property infringement claims; our ability to attract and retain qualified key employees and to manage our workforce successfully; material changes in the market value or liquidity of securities that we hold; restrictions imposed by our debt obligations; (ii) events related to our regulatory and litigation environment, such as: liabilities or loss of business resulting from a failure by us, our agents or their subagents to comply with laws and regulations and regulatory or judicial interpretations thereof, including laws and regulations designed to protect consumers, or detect and prevent money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud and other illicit activity; increased costs or loss of business due to regulatory initiatives and changes in laws, regulations and industry practices and standards, including changes in interpretations in the United States and abroad, affecting us, our agents or their subagents, or the banks with which we or our agents maintain bank accounts needed to provide our services, including related to anti-money laundering regulations, anti-fraud measures, our licensing arrangements, customer due diligence, agent and subagent due diligence, registration and monitoring requirements, consumer protection requirements, remittances, and immigration; liabilities, increased costs or loss of business and unanticipated developments resulting from governmental investigations and consent agreements with or enforcement actions by regulators, including those associated with the settlement agreements with the United States Department of Justice, certain United States Attorney's Offices, the United States Federal Trade Commission, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the United States Department of Treasury, and various state attorneys general; liabilities resulting from litigation, including class-action lawsuits and similar matters, and regulatory enforcement actions, including costs, expenses, settlements and judgments; failure to comply with regulations and evolving industry standards regarding consumer privacy and data use and security, including with respect to the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act; failure to comply with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as regulations issued pursuant to it and the actions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and similar legislation and regulations enacted by other governmental authorities in the United States and abroad related to consumer protection and derivative transactions; effects of unclaimed property laws or their interpretation or the enforcement thereof; failure to maintain sufficient amounts or types of regulatory capital or other restrictions on the use of our working capital to meet the changing requirements of our regulators worldwide; changes in accounting standards, rules and interpretations, or industry standards affecting our business; and (iii) other events, such as: catastrophic events; and management's ability to identify and manage these and other risks.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments. Our omnichannel platform connects the digital and physical worlds and makes it possible for consumers and businesses to send and receive money and make payments with speed, ease, and reliability. As of December 31, 2019, our network included over 550,000 retail agent locations offering our branded services in more than 200 countries and territories, with the capability to send money to billions of accounts.
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