Visa Profit Rises as Payments Volume Grows

By Allison Prang Features Dow Jones Newswires

Visa Inc. reported an 11% increase in profit for the fourth quarter, potentially adding fuel to an already robust rally this year for the San Francisco-based card company's stock.

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Earnings were $2.14 billion for the quarter, or 90 cents a share, beating analysts' estimates of 85 cents a share. Net operating revenue rose 14% from a year ago to $4.86 billion, bolstered by a 10% rise in payments volume.

The stock rose 0.54% in premarket trading. Alongside companies like Boeing Co. and Apple Inc., Visa's stock price -- which is up 39% for the year -- has helped fuel a rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which crossed the 23000 threshold this month.

The card company has been focused on further expanding its overseas presence. In July, Visa announced it would open data centers in both the United Kingdom and Singapore. Previously, Visa only had centers based in North America.

Last month, Charlotte Hogg, Bank of England's former chief operating officer, was named head of the company's European operations, more than a year after Visa finished buying Visa Europe. Visa Chief Executive Al Kelly Jr. said in prepared remarks Wednesday the company was pleased with its European progress and "will continue to make strategic investments that will further strengthen our franchise there and globally."

The company also strives to expand in China in a bid to grow its customer base in the world's largest country by population. During Visa's third-quarter conference call in July, Mr. Kelly said the company had applied for a domestic license with the People's Bank of China. An access agreement orchestrated between both China and the U.S. announced in May could prove useful for companies like Visa who want to do business there, permitting they don't meet roadblocks.

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In its recent fiscal year, Visa said it earned a profit of $6.7 billion, up roughly 12% from the prior year. Net operating revenue rose about 22% to $18.36 billion.

The company also said Wednesday it expects net revenue growth for 2018 to be in the high-single digits, while adjusted operating expenses should grow in the mid-single digits.

Write to Allison Prang at allison.prang@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 25, 2017 07:26 ET (11:26 GMT)