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MarketWatch MarketPulseNov 20, 2018
S&P Global upgrades Visa rating citing strong financial position and market share
S&P Global Ratings upgraded Visa Inc.'s long-term rating to AA-minus from A-plus on Tuesday, and said the company's has maintained a strong financial position over years and remained a leader in payment technology. "We expect Visa to continue to report strong earnings growth and stable profitability with low leverage at least over the next few years--benefiting from its well-fortified market positions and a long-term global increase in electronic payments," the ratings agency said in a statement. Visa has grown revenue, EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, at a roughly double-digit compound rate for at least a decade, even as it has had to grapple with regulatory and legal challenges, said S&P. It has also had to face down competition from new fintech players in the payment space. It has done so while maintaining financial discipline and low leverage and has recently resolved material legal issues, it said. "We are raising our ratings on Visa because we expect it to extend its track record of good earnings and strong and stable profitability without any major disruptions from new fintech, regulation, or litigation at least over the next few years," said the statement. The tax revamp from last December has further boosted profitability. Visa's most active bonds, the 3.150% notes that mature in December of 2025, were trading 1 basis tighter Tuesday at 65 basis points over Treasurys, according to MarketAxess. Shares were down 0.5% and have gained 17.5% in 2018, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 0.3% and the S&P 500 has fallen 0.4%.

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