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MasterCard records $605m profit

By The Citizen

MasterCard Incorporated posted fourth quarter profit that beat analysts'estimates as customers made more purchases. Net income excluding litigation charges increased 18 per cent to $605 million, or $4.86 a share, from $514 million, or $4.03, a year earlier, the Purchase, New York-based company, said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.

'It was a solid quarter capping a really solid year despite the economic challenges,' MasterCard Chief Financial Officer Martina Hund-Mejean said.

Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga is fending off competitors Visa Incorporated and Shanghai-based China UnionPay as he seeks a larger share of the electronic payments processing market.

Banga is targeting developing countries, such as Myanmar, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola for growth amid a global consumer shift from cash to plastic. 'We are gaining traction in our United States credit business with some recent wins, continuing to experience momentum in our mobile initiatives around the world, and securing important business in emerging markets like Africa and Brazil,' Banga said.

Profit comparisons were skewed by a $770 million expense tied to settling litigation with merchants taken in the fourth quarter of 2011. Including that cost, earnings a year earlier were $19 million, or 15 cents a share.

MasterCard's total revenue increased 9.7 per cent to $1.9 billion, beating the Bloomberg forecast of $1.89 billion. Worldwide spending on MasterCard- and Maestro-branded cards climbed 13 per cent to $727 billion, based on local currencies, the company said. Processed transactions jumped 20 per cent to 9.2 billion.