Visa Europe eyes 2012 sales rise after record year
London, January 18, 2012
Visa Europe expects sales to rise again in 2012 after posting record revenue of 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) for 2011 as consumers turned more to their debit cards instead of cash for their daily spending needs.
"Even in times of austerity, people are still spending," Visa Europe chief executive Peter Ayliffe told Reuters.
"We are continuing to see more and more people move away from cash and using their debit cards more."
Visa Europe runs the region's biggest card payments system and is owned and operated by more than 3,700 European member banks. The company is independent of American group Visa Inc but runs the Visa Inc brand in Europe.
While the euro zone economy's downturn worsened at the end of 2011 with falling retail sales and souring sentiment, Visa Europe reported a 19 percent increase in the number of transactions it processed.
Visa Europe's 2011 revenues of 1 billion euros were up from 878 million euros in 2010, while its pre-tax profits more than trebled to 241 million euros.
"If the economic situation worsens, our rate of growth may slow down but we will still have growth," he added.
Fears over the euro as a currency rose last week after credit rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded several European countries, including France, while talks drag on over tackling Greece's debt burden.
Ayliffe declined to comment on whether or not Visa Europe thought Greece might return to the drachma currency.
He said his company was monitoring the European situation closely like many firms, adding Visa Europe could easily deal with the arrival or exit of new currencies on its system.
"We are well used to adding new currencies onto our system. Should any country leave the euro, we can pick that up quickly as well." – Reuters