* 1st-qtr profit $0.37/share vs $0.40 year earlier
* Revenue down 5 pct at $1.33 bln
* Revenue from consumer business falls 7 pct
* Backs full-year EPS guidance of $1.33-$1.43
By Neha Dimri
April 30 Western Union Co said it was
confident it would return to revenue and profit growth in 2014
and stuck to its guidance for the current year, saying it was
making progress in bolstering its consumer money transfer
The world's largest money transfer company is cutting prices
and investing in new technology to fight competition and regain
lost market share in a remittances market that the World Bank
estimates hit $529 billion last year.
Quarterly net income fell 14 percent as price cuts reduced
transaction fees but transaction volumes in the key market of
Mexico increased and the company stood by its full-year earnings
forecast of $1.33 to $1.43 per share.
"We are confident we have the plans in place, and we have
seen signs in the first quarter that will allow us to return to
revenue and profit growth in 2014," Chief Financial Officer
Scott Scheirman told Reuters.
Morningstar analyst Brett Horn said it was key that the
company had stuck to its guidance.
"This is a transitional year for the company and sticking
with the guidance they provided suggests that they feel like
they've got their hands around that process."
Western Union's firm grip on consumer remittances has been
slipping after it lost last year an exclusive arrangement with a
major Mexican financial services group that agreed to also deal
with smaller rival MoneyGram International Inc.
Exclusive agency deals are also under threat elsewhere.
Western Union had said in an earlier filing that proposed laws
in some countries in Africa, south Asia and eastern Europe would
prevent such deals with agents.
Nimbler online players such as Boom Financial Inc and Xoom
Corp, which went public in February, are also
challenging Western Union's dominance.
First-quarter net income fell to $212 million, or 37 cents
per share, from $247.3 million, or 40 cents per share, a year
Analysts on average had expected earnings before items of 32
cents per share on revenue of $1.34 billion, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total revenue fell 5 percent to $1.33 billion, while revenue
from its consumer business, which accounts for nearly 80 percent
of its total business, fell 7 percent during the quarter.
But price cuts helped Western Union-branded transactions in
Mexico increase 9 percent during the quarter and revenue from
the company's electronic channels -- which include
Westernunion.com, account-based money transfer and mobile money
transfer -- rose 18 percent in the quarter.
The Englewood, Colorado-based company's shares, which have
gained about 3.5 percent since its last quarterly results,
closed at $14.81 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday and
were unchanged after hours.