Purchase, NY- January 31, 2017 – Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2016. The company reported net income of $933 million, an increase of 5%, or 4% on a currency-neutral basis and earnings per diluted share of $0.86, up 9%, or 7% on a currency-neutral basis, both versus the year-ago period. Excluding a special item in this quarter related to merchant litigation in the U.K., the company reported net income of $940 million, an increase of 6%, or 5% on a currency neutral-basis, and earnings per diluted share of $0.86, up 9%, or 7% on a currency-neutral basis, both versus the same period in 2015.
“We’re pleased to have delivered strong results for the quarter and full year, driven by solid execution of our strategy and leveraging our differentiated service offerings,” said Ajay Banga, Mastercard president and CEO. “Our continued investments in digital, safety and security, data analytics, loyalty and processing position us well for future growth in our core business and new payment flows.”
Net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 was $2.8 billion, an increase of 9%, or 10% on a currency-neutral basis, versus the same period in 2015. Net revenue growth was driven by the impact of the following:
- An increase in switched transactions3 of 17%, to 15.2 billion;
- A 9% increase in gross dollar volume, on a local currency basis and adjusting for the impact of recent EU regulatory changes, to $1.2 trillion; and
- An increase in cross-border volumes of 13%.
These factors were partially offset by an increase in rebates and incentives, primarily due to new and renewed agreements and increased volumes. As of December 31, 2016, the company’s customers had issued 2.3 billion Mastercard and Maestro-branded cards.
Total operating expenses decreased 1% to $1.4 billion during the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015 and were flat on a currency-neutral basis. Excluding the special item, total operating expenses decreased 2%, or 1% on a currency-neutral basis. The decrease reflects the impact of ongoing cost management activities offsetting our continued investments in strategic initiatives.
Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2016 increased 23%, or 22% on a currency-neutral basis, versus the year-ago period. Excluding the special item, operating income increased 24%, or 23% on a currency-neutral basis. The company delivered an operating margin of 49.4%, or 49.8% excluding the special item.
Mastercard reported other expense of $52 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, versus $82 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The decrease was mainly due to lower impairment charges on investments in the current quarter versus the comparable period in the prior year, partially offset by increased interest expense related to the company’s recent debt offerings.
Mastercard’s effective tax rate was 28.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016, or 28.7% excluding the special item, versus a rate of 13.1% in the comparable period in 2015. The difference was primarily due to the recognition of discrete benefits in the fourth quarter of 2015.
During the fourth quarter of 2016, Mastercard repurchased approximately 11 million shares at a cost of $1.1 billion. Quarter-to-date through January 26, the company repurchased an additional 2.3 million shares at a cost of $247 million, which leaves $4.7 billion remaining under current repurchase program authorizations.
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