The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Feb 07, 2019 • 04:30 pm ET

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The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good afternoon and welcome to the Western Union Fourth Quarter 2018 Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) Please note, this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Mike Salop, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Executive
Mike Salop

Thank you, Laura. On today's call we will discuss the Company's 2018 fourth quarter results and the 2019 financial outlook, and then we'll will take your questions. The slides that accompany this call and webcast can be found at westernunion.com under the Investor Relations tab and will remain available after the call. Additional operational statistics have been provided in supplemental tables with our press release.

Today's call is being recorded and our comments include forward-looking statements. Please refer to the cautionary language in the earnings release and in Western Union's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the 2017 Form 10-K for additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements.

During the call, we will discuss some items that do not conform to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. We reconcile those items to the most comparable GAAP measures on our website, westernunion.com, under the Investor Relations section. All statements made by Western Union officers on this call are the property of the Western Union Company and subject to copyright protection. Other than the replay noted in our press release, Western Union has not authorized and disclaims responsibility for any recording, replay or distribution of any transcription of this call. I would now like to turn the call over to Hikmet Ersek.

Executive
Hikmet Ersek

Thank you, Mike, and good afternoon, everyone. Overall, our business continues to produce stable results as our customers remained resilient despite slowing global economic growth in parts of the world. This will remain strong with westernunion.com transaction accelerating to 25% growth in the quarter, which translated into 22% constant currency revenue increase.

In addition to ongoing strength in our U.S. outbound digital business, we are also making great progress in increasing westernunion.com penetration and growth in key European markets, including France, the UK and Germany. For our entire money transfer business revenues increased 1% in constant currency. Transactions however increased 4% in the fourth quarter and cross-border principal volume grew 8% in constant currency terms. So underlined metrics are summed (ph).

Business Solutions showed improvement, with revenue's increase in 5% constant currency, led by strong growth in Europe. We again delivered good performance in the payments area of B2B, including the education vertical. This quarter, however, we also had good growth in foreign exchange services aided by customer hedging related to increased foreign exchange volatility. The bill payments businesses positive mix results with Argentina results in U.S. dollar terms, continuing to be heavily impacted by negative currency translation.

From a profit perspective, margins were solid at 19.2% for the quarter and 20.1% for the year as effective cost management and our WU Way lean programs contributed to stability. Operating cash