Western Union Earnings Call INSIGHTS: Business Solutions, B2B Market Share

On Tuesday, Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Business Solutions

Tien-Tsin Huang – JPMorgan: Thanks for all the details. Just want to – I guess first on Business Solutions, the lower guidance is in the surprise, but I’m curious is it all macro related or did you see some challenges in your sales efforts as well? I’m trying to better understand if improved distribution in loan can get you to double-digit growth next year if the macro situation stays the same. So that’s why I want to parse those two together, or parse those two out.

A Closer Look: Western Union Company Earnings Cheat Sheet>>

Hikmet Ersek – President and CEO: It’s mainly driven due to the global trade. Our existing customers’ revenue in some parts of the world has been – especially in the U.S. and some parts of Western Europe has been depending on the existing customer. It has been lower and that’s because of the global trade slowness. We do have new acquisitions. We do have new clients. As I mentioned before, ICICI Bank and Universities in the U.S. and also IB investor kind of, and we also opened the new country. As you recall, we started after the – about eight months ago, 10 months ago, we had 16 countries, now we are in 26 countries in the Western Union Business Solutions. The new revenue takes some time; it comes, and our aim is expanding on to new countries, but I would say that mainly driven by global trade has impacted our B2B business.

Tien-Tsin Huang – JPMorgan: And then the compliance cost moving up, do you think this will eventually apply to some of your smaller peers as well and perhaps ease some of the competition especially in pricing going forward?

Hikmet Ersek – President and CEO: I think, Tien-Tsin, it’s upgrading our compliance, and as you know, we are very focused here and we are very serious. It’s a competitive advantage long-term. I think we are investing heavily here to – I think as a industry leader we are setting the tone here and I think we are very focused here and I see that as a — definitely a competitive advantage.

B2B Market Share

Glenn Fodor – Morgan Stanley: Just a follow-up on Tien-Tsin’s question on B2B, just on the whole market share issue, I mean people I believe are expecting you guys to offset any macro weakness with share gain, so just straight up – do you think you’re winning share yet, and if not yet when do you expect this to happen?

Hikmet Ersek – President and CEO: I believe we are gaining share, we are getting new customers, we are really gaining share, I think in some parts where we had existing customers as I mentioned before we had some global trade issues, but generally we are expanding and we are gaining share. I just want to repeat again, we have only 2% market share globally and it can go only up and the team is very focused to signing new sales efforts. I think Glenn we are definitely on the road gaining share.

Glenn Fodor – Morgan Stanley: On a normalized basis excluding integration cost, it looks like you made some progress by our calculations in the operating margin in B2B from 1Q to 2Q. So, can this trajectory continue even without an acceleration of the top line over the near time, just from synergies and cost optimization.

Scott T. Scheirman – EVP, CFO and Global Operations: Yeah, Glenn. If you look at first quarter compared to second quarter, if you just look at the EBITDA margins excluding integration, EBITDA margins in the first quarter were about 8%, in the second quarter they were about 15%, so they almost doubled it if you will. We did have some earlier upfront spending, we’re beginning to see synergies, but it’s a very leveragable business model, so as we bring the two businesses together to pick the best technology, the best products, get the talent aligned and go-to-market. We believe over the years to come, this business can have EBITDA margins somewhere in the 30% range. As we move through the year and move into 2013, we continue to expect to make progress. As we exit ’13, we do we’ll be on a run rate of about $30 million of expense synergies, so we want to continue to drive those margins north and believe we can.

Glenn Fodor – Morgan Stanley: So, it’s $30 million just to be clear expense synergies with overall company or within the B2B segment?

Scott T. Scheirman – EVP, CFO and Global Operations: Glenn, we are just within B2B. We see about $30 million of expense synergies on a run rate as we exit 2013.