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Visa "will notice the recession" in Spain and Europe in 2009, but plans to invest 100 million in innovation 22/01/2009

The company obtained net profits of 62 million euros in 2008, 30% up on the previous year.

Peter Ayliffe, president and CEO of Visa Europe, today predicted that the company "would notice the recession" this year in its earnings, both in Spain and Europe, but he underlined that the company would invest almost 100 million euros to continue innovating.

"Earnings growth will not be double digit. Bearing in mind the current environment, it would be somewhat unrealistic to make this forecast. The recession will affect us, like everyone else, but we expect to continue achieving significant growth," Ayliffe said.

He emphasised that in times of recession consumers maintain non-discretional spending, particularly with debit cards, while he highlighted Visa's intention to keep up innovation as the motor of its growth.

Over the last three years the company has invested 87 million euros a year in innovation, to which should be added a further ten million euros a year in contactless card technology.

The president and CEO of Visa Europe also highlighted that "the company's sustained success in these difficult economic conditions demonstrates the quality of service offered to financial institutions, retailers, firms and consumers in Europe."


He also said that financial turbulence was leading institutions to focus more on traditional business, of which payments are a part, meaning that Visa could benefit from the new scenario that is emerging once the current difficulties have been overcome.

On the subject of the entry of public capital in financial institutions, Ayliffe ruled out any possibility of this having a negative impact on Visa's business, and said that "in any event" it could benefit the company, as public capital would enhance the security of the banking business.

Visa Europe obtained net profits of 62 million euros in 2008, excluding Visa Inc's stock-market flotation, which represents growth of 30% on the previous year.

Gross earnings rose to 113 million (+74%), whereas income came to 673 million (+15%). Taking the stock-market flotation into account, gross profits reached 2.472 billion, an increase of 3,715%.

Spending using Visa cards both at retailers and cash dispensers around Europe came to 1.39 trillion euros, up 9.34%, while the number of cards grew by 5.3% to 361.2 million.


In Spain spending rose to 75.8 billion euros in 2008, growth of 125 on the previous year. The number of cards rose by 5.9% to reach 47.6 million.

The general manager of Visa Europe in Spain, Luis Garcia, explained that the priority for Visa's business this year is to consolidate the position of cards as the best option for consumer credit, and to continue making progress on technological innovations aimed at small-value payments.