MasterCard Incorporated Class A Earnings Call Insights: Article 8 On Co-Branching and Rebate Outlook

MasterCard Incorporated Class A (NYSE:MA) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Article 8 On Co-Branching

Craig Maurer – CLSA: I wanted to ask a follow-up to the European discussion. In terms of EU assessment revenue, what percentage of that is earned on a per volume on a volume basis versus a card licensing basis as it would seem that there might be some rules preventing you from assessing on transactions where your scheme was not used to process even though your brand was present?

Martina Hund-Mejean – CFO: It’s Martina. I think I’ll take that question. So, what first of all, what I presume that you’re actually asking about Article 8 on co-branching and the issue for both legislation rights, so, we obviously know the number when you just particularly look at volume base assessment fees that we earned in Europe on domestic transactions that we do not process. And by the way, it’s not material to our overall MasterCard numbers. But I’m a little bit reluctant to put out this number here at this point in time and really for a couple of reasons. One, this is one of the sections of the proposal where the language is actually unclear. Second, there are a number of puts and takes in the entire legislation, which makes it clearly difficult for us at this point to estimate what part of this revenue figure might actually be subject to this potential provision. All is basically wrapped out in terms of, for us being difficult to understand the intent of this co-patching provision. So, imagine, when an issuer elects to put our brand on a card, they must have a reason for doing so. Presumably because their consumer recognizes and values our brand and therefore uses his or her card with the MasterCard brand on it. That brings value to our stakeholders in the system. Of course, we are not going to provide our brand for free, and we don’t believe that, that could be the intention of the EC. On the other hand, there are also some other provisions in the proposal, which could, as you know allow for more competition in domestic processing, which we would certainly welcome. So, why don’t we get more clarification from the EC, we think that we still have quite a bit of work to do, get our hands around the provision and how that could impact us, if at all.

Rebate Outlook

Sanjay Sakhrani – KBW: I guess I had a question about the rebates and incentives volume. It looks like there was some kind of restatement as well, it was about $21 million or so for last year’s number. I was wondering if Martina you could just talk about that a little bit, and then just as far as the assumption going forward on rebate, should we expect that those levels remain fairly low consistent with the second quarter? Thanks.

Martina Hund-Mejean – CFO: Sanjay, so let me take the first one which is really a reclassification. So we had some of our advisor services both reflected in the growth revenue line and in the contract line all we did is we collapsed them in the growth revenue line. So from a net revenue point of view there is absolutely no difference and all we did is the, reclass the number to 2012 so that as the accounting change came in on January of 2013, you were looking at apples-to-apples, okay? So that’s on the reclass. In terms of the rebates and incentives, what you saw in Q2 was really a much lower growth rate on a rebates and incentives than we would normally see. All right and I said there are two factors. One is, we didn’t get to sign all of the contracts that we thought we would sign by the end of the quarter, and those contracts will be showing up either in the third quarter or in the fourth quarter, so you cannot assume this level of rebates and incentives going forward. It will go back to our, what you normally see the lumpiness; this is a little bit more lumpy of course in the second quarter than we normally have. And then secondly I think I did explain that we had a couple of performances on the number of contracts where we paid out lower incentives than otherwise anticipated. So do not take this increase in rebates and incentives for Q2 and apply it for the rest of the year you really need to go back to my comments where I said that net revenues for the second half of the year will probably come in similar to what we saw in the first half of the year and that’s baked in our assumptions in rebates and incentives.

A Closer Look: MasterCard Incorporated Earnings Cheat Sheet>>