Global Payments Earnings Call Insights: More Color on Canada’s Outlook, Canada Pricing Strategy

On Thursday, Global Payments, Inc. (NYSE:GPN) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

More Color on Canada’s Outlook 

James Kissane – Credit Suisse: David, can you give a little more color on the outlook in Canada? It sounds like you’re expecting the decline to moderate somewhat for the balance of the year. I’m just trying to get a sense in terms of why you expect that to decline? Are you seeing real stability up there, because it doesn’t look like that in the quarter just passed?

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David Mangum – Senior EVP and CFO: Yeah, I don’t think we’re expecting fundamental changes in sort of the core spread declines, Jim, on an organic basis and I’ll transfer to Jeff in a second to talk about the market and what we’re seeing there. What you will see though as the year goes on, first off is less pressure year-over-year from a currency perspective, which will certainly make a big difference in the reported outlook in U.S. dollars. In addition we have a couple of different actions, and again I’ll let Jeff add color to this, working on some products, pricing and also some sales actions over the course of the year to begin to have a little more impact in Q3 and Q4, but again really nothing fundamental changing in terms of the trajectory and some of the ongoing pressures. There are some things around the edges that help ameliorate things later in the year.

Jeffrey S. Sloan – President, Global Payments Inc.: It’s Jeff. If you recall there was a quarter last year where we really felt like the spread diminution got ahead of us. I think we’ve done a nice job and I think David’s commentary reflects this, taking a very good view about that spread trends are likely be for the year and that’s encompassed in David’s guidance today. So as we said in the July call, we do expect Canada to be a modest headwind for this fiscal year, and we’ve done a few things just to be more specific. First we had some reductions that we took at the end of last fiscal year and we’ll get the full year impact of that throughout fiscal ’13. Second, we continue to see new good sales trends for new direct revenue signings, Jim, in Canada. Those will help as we go throughout the year. So we’re happy with that, as well as additional product introductions, and then selectively throughout the year price actions. So I think you come to a good (indiscernible) spread is likely to continue to trend with the advantage of some of the things that we’ve done last year and some good sales efforts this year, we feel comfortable with the guidance that David reiterated. As he mentioned in his prepared remarks, we did end up about as expected on income contribution for the quarter.

James Kissane – Credit Suisse: Jeff, is it all spread compression or is it an increase in client attrition, so the client retention in Canada as a result of pricing and more competition up there, what’s the mix of that?

Jeffrey S. Sloan – President, Global Payments Inc.: Well, thanks for pointing out Jim. Actually attrition in Canada has declined fairly markedly in our Canadian business. I think as I’ve mentioned in some previous calls, I’m glad you raised it, we put in place a fair amount of analytics by way of framework around value-added customers and we actually have seen a decline most recently in attrition and that’s part of our outlook that that continue and it’s part of the reason why we’re giving the guidance that we’re giving for the rest the fiscal year.

James Kissane – Credit Suisse: Just one last question, I’m sorry, Jane. Jeff, do you see the light at the end of the tunnel in Canada?

Jeffrey S. Sloan – President, Global Payments Inc.: Well, I think what we’ve seen is the spread diminution processed and we’re going to make sure that we avoid some of the pitfalls Jim, that we had last year, where we assume that would really moderate and instead what I think we’re doing is managing for that continued scenario and if we’re presently surprised and that’s a happy outcome for everybody.

Canada Pricing Strategy

Tien-tsin Huang – JPMorgan: Just following Jim’s question around Canada. Just maybe the products, I’m assuming if things like DCC, I mean how are those things sort of testing in marketplace? Then just on the pricing side, I think historically that’s usually come together with rule changes or interchange adjustments. I didn’t see any big changes, maybe I missed it. So I’m curious, what the strategy is around the price in Canada?

Jeffrey S. Sloan – President, Global Payments Inc.: Tien-tsin, it’s Jeff. I’ll start then David obviously and Paul can jump in. First on the pricing changes, there really has not been a meaningful interchange change from the networks in Canada for, I believe, three years now. So Tien-tsin, that’s an environment we’ve been living in for quite some time and have taken selective actions as you know over the last few years in that landscape. So, we’re not anticipating Tien-tsin that that changed at all and that’s embodied in our commentary and David’s commentary about our outlook for fiscal ’13. That’s your second question first. On your first question, we have introduced DCC into the marketplace in Canada. I can tell you that that product is running ahead of our expectations at this point, which was part of my explanation to Jim in his questioning, and we hope and expect that to continue in Canada. We’re also looking to introducing other new products and customers in different segments into that marketplace in fiscal ’13. So I feel good about where we are. It’s really the small and medium-sized business spread diminution coupled with relatively difficult macroeconomic climate in that region, but we’re managing for that and I think we managed it well in the first quarter.

Tien-tsin Huang – JPMorgan: Then just I guess a bigger picture question around APT and ISOs and buying in some of those ISOs. I know the VAR channel is quite attractive, but that’s a good asset, but I’m curious in general what the ISO reaction has been to you buying accelerated here. And I know there’s been a lot of chatter about other portfolios potentially coming to market and whether or not that’s something we should consider Global committing more capital to doing and potentially bringing in more ISOs down the road, just a bigger cushion around that that makes sense?

Paul R. Garcia – Chairman and CEO: This is Paul. The APT deal was unique in that there are really not a lot of companies that we’re familiar with that fit that profile. The reaction from our ISO customers has been I think the correct one and that is they know this has no impact on their relationship with us. There is no impact on their relationship with existing or potential customers, and they are in no way disadvantaged at all. In fact it’s possible they may take up some additional services and offerings out of this deal as we understand more about what we can do with this asset. So the reaction has been pretty much – really not much of a reaction at all quite frankly. And also to be clear on what we would – do you expect us to do more of these deals, I think it’s probably unlikely we’re going to be actively participating in other ISO opportunities, because once again this was something that was unique.