MasterCard 1Q profit rises 14 percent

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm •  Published: May 1, 2014
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MasterCard's net income climbed 14 percent in the first quarter, as increased spending by cardholders worldwide helped boost revenue.

The results beat Wall Street estimates, sending the Purchase, New York-company's shares higher in afternoon trading Thursday.

The company also flagged that it sees potentially serious complications from a proposed payments law that Russia is considering.

Lawmakers in Russia are eyeing enacting changes to the structure of the domestic payments market in response to the impact of sanctions by the West amid rising tensions in the Ukraine.

Although Russia accounts for roughly 2 percent of MasterCard's revenue, the company is worried about the impact a new payments market law would have on MasterCard's business.

"There are provisions there that I believe would create serious complications for the way that we can operate in that market," MasterCard President and CEO Ajay Banga said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts.

Banga noted that the situation is fluid, which makes it difficult to gauge the potential impact of any new payments laws beyond this year.

"Overall, we expect a small impact from this current Russian situation on our results for 2014," Banga said.

Despite its concerns, the company did not update its 2014 earnings guidance.

MasterCard is the world's second-largest processor of debit and credit card payments. Like its bigger rival, Visa Inc., it benefits from heightened consumer spending.

An unusually bitter winter sent factories, hiring and consumer spending into hibernation earlier this year, but spending rebounded last month. U.S. consumer spending jumped 0.9 percent in March, the largest monthly gain since April 2009, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The department also raised its estimate of the spending increase in February to 0.5 percent from 0.3 percent.

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