Lower costs help MasterCard handily beat profit estimates

Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:59am EDT
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By Neha Dimri

(Reuters) - MasterCard Inc MA.N, the world's No. 2 debit and credit card company, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as costs fell and shoppers spent more on its cards.

MasterCard's shares rose about 3.6 percent to a record-high of $93.59 in early trading on Wednesday. Larger rival Visa Inc's V.N shares also rose 1.7 percent.

"We are managing well, despite a mixed economic environment and challenging currency situation," Chief Executive Ajay Banga said in a statement.

Operating expenses fell about 1 percent to $879 million in the first quarter ended March 31, helped mainly by currency hedging.

The dollar .DXY, which has gained about 22 percent in the past 12 months against a basket of major currencies, has hurt U.S. multinational companies.

"Continued revenue momentum, good cost control, executing on our tax strategies ... contributed to the performance," Chief Financial Officer Martina Hund-Mejean said on a post-earnings conference call.

The company said it expects net revenue growth rate to be in low single digits in 2015 due to a stronger dollar.

MasterCard and larger rival Visa Inc V.N get more than 60 percent of their revenue from outside the United States, making them vulnerable to currency fluctuations. Visa is expected to report first-quarter earnings on Thursday.   Continued...

A sign with a logo of MasterCard is seen on the door of a shoe shop in Stavropol January 13, 2015. REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko