Final FY2017 numbers have been reported for Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and FY2018 is now underway. I previously wrote an article proposing my thesis that growth will slow (not stop) starting with Q1 FY2018 numbers and now that FY2017 is in the books, I’ll be taking a clinical approach into this thesis as we approach Q1 FY18 numbers. As expected, Visa just recently reported another great quarter for Q4 FY2017 with beats on both the top and bottom line to round out the fiscal year. EPS and revenue estimates were beaten by $0.05 and $230 million, respectively. Visa had set new to all-time highs of ~$110 per share leading into the earnings report. Despite these beats on both the top and bottom line numbers, the stock responded in a relatively muted fashion. Investors have been accustomed to year-over-year quarterly growth in the double digits over the past year, specifically post Visa Europe acquisition and integration. For year-over-year revenue comparators post-Visa Europe integration, FYQ4 2016 growth was 19% followed by FY2017 revenue growth with FYQ1 at 25%, FYQ2 was 23%, FYQ3 was 26%, and FYQ4 was 14%.
FYQ4 2017 is a far departure from the previous four quarters of growth. Visa’s management is now forecasting revenue growth in the high single digits with EPS growth in the mid-teens, artificially high due to share buybacks. This forward-looking revenue growth rate is a shape divergence from the past year-plus revenue growth numbers investors were enjoying yet appears to be the new normal moving forward. As I posited previously, Visa’s growth rate will be slowing, now confirmed by Visa’s management and is thus misaligned with the stock’s 41% YTD appreciation, P/E ratio, PEG ratio and overall growth prospects. Continue reading "Visa's Growth Slowdown Has Begun"