Fiserv Inc. (FISV - Free Report) delivered fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.41 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.37. The figure increased 21.6% on a year-over-year basis.
GAAP total revenues increased 5.9% year over year to $1.52 billion. Adjusted revenues grew 6.6% year over year to $1.44 billion driven by internal revenue growth, strong segmental performance and growing clientele.
2017 at a Glance
Fiserv reported adjusted earnings of $5.12 per share for 2017, which increased 16% over 2016. Adjusted revenues came in $5.423 billion, which increased 4.1% compared with 2016.
Fiserv is witnessing an increase in the adoption of DNA as well as other digital banking solutions due to its improved architecture, flexible user interface and other digital capacities. The total number of signed clients for DNA platform grew more than 30% in 2017.
The company’s Architect and Mobiliti ASP acquired 35 and 160 signed clients, respectively. Notably, subscribers for Mobiliti ASP and Architect grew 24% and 40%, respectively, in 2017.
The company witnessed more than 20% growth in debit transaction growth from Zelle and P2P transactions in 2017.
The company’s reported operational effectiveness came in $82 million for 2017, well ahead of its target which was pegged at $60 million.
Top Line in Detail
Internal revenues grew 6% owing to 7% growth in payments segment and 5% in financial segment.
Payments and Industry Products (54.9% of revenues) adjusted revenues increased 8.8% year over year to $792 million. This was driven by strong performance of card services and electronic payments business.
Financial Institution Services (46.3% of revenues) adjusted revenues were up 3.7% year over year to $668 million. This can be attributed to encouraging results from account processing and lending businesses.
Source-wise, total processing and services revenues increased 7.3% on a year-over-year basis to $1.27 billion while product revenues declined 0.4% year over year to $246 million.
In the fourth quarter, Fiserv’s customer base continued to expand with the addition of Sallie Mae Bank, Fidelity Bank, Comercia Bank and Dollar Bank.
SunTrust, Citizens Bank and Ally Bank contributed to 90% increase in Zelle transaction, which went live in fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Citizens Bank and KeyBanc signed for Dovetail real-time payment solution, which was acquired Fiserv in the last quarter.
Selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) were $313 million, which was up 6.1% compared with year-ago quarter. As percentage of revenues, SG&A declined 10 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis.
Adjusted operating income increased 12.9% year over year to $491 million. The adjusted operating margin of 34% expanded 190 bps on a year-over-year basis, primarily due to lower expenses.
Segment-wise, Payments and Industry Products operating margin expanded 330 bps on a year-over-year basis to 36.4%. Financial Institution Services operating margin also expanded 140 bps.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
As of Dec 31, 2017, cash and cash equivalents of $325 million, in line with the figure as of Sep 30, 2017. Long-term debt was $4.897 billion at the year-end compared with $4.467 billion at the end of 2016.
Fiserv generated free cash flow of $1.223 billion exceeding $1.2 billion for the first time and increased 12.82% on a year-over-year basis.
In the fourth quarter, the company repurchased 1.5 million shares for $189 million. Fiserv had 10.7 million shares remaining for repurchase at year end.
For 2018, Fiserv expects earnings between $6.05 and $6.30 per share with growth of 22% to 27% over 2017. Internal revenue growth is projected at 4.5% for 2018.
In 2018, conversion of free cash flow is projected to be within a range of 106-111%.
Fiserv anticipates increase in operating margin and free cash flow due to new tax reform.
Adjusted effective tax rate is expected between 22% and 23% for the year 2018. Approximately $395 million of net after tax proceeds is anticipated after closing the transaction of 55% sale of Fiserv’s Lending Solution business. Notably, this is expected in first-quarter 2018.
Further, operational effectiveness for 2018 is projected at $50 million.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Fiserv carries Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
A few better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector are Micron Technology (MU - Free Report) , The Trade Desk (TTD - Free Report) and Lam Research (LRCX - Free Report) , all the three sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Long-term earnings growth rate for Micron, Lam Research and The Trade Desk is projected at 10%, 14.9% and 25%, respectively.
Will You Make a Fortune on the Shift to Electric Cars?
Here's another stock idea to consider. Much like petroleum 150 years ago, lithium power may soon shake the world, creating millionaires and reshaping geo-politics. Soon electric vehicles (EVs) may be cheaper than gas guzzlers. Some are already reaching 265 miles on a single charge.
With battery prices plummeting and charging stations set to multiply, one company stands out as the #1 stock to buy according to Zacks research.
It's not the one you think.
See This Ticker Free >>