Visa says revenue growth to slow, Russia sanctions hurting volumes

Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:26pm EDT
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By Aman Shah

(Reuters) - Visa Inc (V.N: Quote), the world's largest credit and debit card company, said U.S. sanctions on Russia were hurting its card transaction volumes and that revenue growth would slow further this quarter, sending its shares down 5 percent after the bell.

Visa's quarterly revenue growth slid to a single digit in percentage terms for the first time in more than four years, due to a strong U.S. dollar.

The company and rival MasterCard Inc (MA.N: Quote) stopped providing services to two Russian banks after U.S. President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia in March after a standoff over Ukraine.

"We are caught between the politics of the United States and the politics of Russia," Chief Financial Officer Byron Pollitt said on a post-earnings conference call on Thursday.

"We're clearly seeing a drop-off in cross-border volume and sanctions are expected to have some impact on volume."

Uncertainty over the companies' operations in Russia lingers as Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the country would develop its own credit card system to reduce dependence on western companies.

Visa said it would assess the situation in Russia and was hopeful it would still have a "meaningful opportunity" to continue to do business there.

"We have 100 million cards there (in Russia) and it is not in anyone's best interest, inclusive of the Russians, to make those cards not available to their own citizens," Pollitt said.   Continued...

Visa credit cards are displayed in Washington October 27, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed