Warren Buffett Stocks: Visa Inc.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) has an equity investment portfolio worth over $360 billion, as of the end of the 2022 first quarter.

Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio is filled with quality stocks. You can follow Warren Buffett stocks to find picks for your portfolio. That’s because Buffett (and other institutional investors) are required to periodically show their holdings in a 13F Filing.

Note: 13F filing performance is different than fund performance. See how we calculate 13F filing performance here.

As of March 31st, 2022, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owned almost 8.3 million shares of Visa Inc. (V) for a market value of $1.8 billion. Visa Inc. represents about 0.5% of Berkshire Hathaway’s investment portfolio. This marks it as the 21st ranking position in the public stock portfolio.

This article will analyze the credit services company in greater detail.


Business Overview

Visa is the world’s leader in digital payments, with activity in more than 200 countries. The stock went public in 2008 and its IPO has proven to be one of the most successful in U.S. history.

The company’s global processing network provides secure and reliable payments around the world and is capable of handling over 65,000 transactions a second. In fiscal year 2021, the company generated nearly $13 billion in profit.

On April 26th, 2022, Visa reported Q2 fiscal year 2022 results. For the quarter, Visa generated revenue of $7.2 billion, adjusted net income of $3.8 billion, and adjusted earnings-per-share of $1.79, marking increases of 25%, 27%, and 30%, respectively.

Source: Investor Presentation

These results were driven by a 17% gain in Payments Volume, a 47% gain in Cross-Border Volume, and a 19% gain in Processed Transactions.

During the quarter, Visa returned $3.7 billion to shareholders via dividends and share repurchases.

As a result of economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S., European Union, United Kingdom, and others, Visa announced in March 2022 that they were suspending operations in Russia, and since then are no longer generating revenue from activities related to Russia.

Russia accounted for roughly 4% of total net revenues for the first half of fiscal 2022 and the full year fiscal 2021.

We estimate that Visa can generate $7.15 in earnings-per-share for the fiscal 2022 year.


Growth Prospects

Up until the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Visa’s earnings-per-share rose every single year at an impressive annualized average growth rate of 22%.

Over the long-term, we believe Visa has plenty of space to keep growing as a result of the global transition towards a cashless society. Global digital payment volume has recently exceeded cash for the first time in history.

However, there are still about 2 billion people worldwide who lack access to cashless payments. Particularly, China and India, which have 1.4 billion people each, are still in the early phases of their transition towards a cashless economy. Therefore, there is a massive growth potential for Visa in these two countries.

Through a combination of growing the number of cards, a rising number of transactions per cardholder, general economic expansion, and share repurchases, Visa should be able to generate attractive earnings-per-share growth over the coming years.

We project that the company can continue to grow earnings per share by about 10.0% annually through 2027.


Competitive Advantages & Recession Performance

Visa has enormous competitive advantages, as it is one of the largest and most well-known payment processors across the globe. Visa has cultured a strong brand and the company continues to invest in significant sponsorships to further reinforce its brand strength.

The company is able to direct large amounts of free cash flow to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends or to invest in acquisitions since the company spends only a small portion on capital expenditures.

However, Visa is not immune to recessions. Since Visa’s profits depend on the total amount of transactions worldwide, the company is affected by an economic crisis, which results in lower spending and lower transaction volumes. This was demonstrated in the 2020 pandemic year which broke Visa’s earnings growth streak.

Still, items like gas, groceries, and clothes are necessities. Even with a drop in spending, consumers will likely continue to use debit and credit cards for their purchases. Thus, there is some recession resistance to the company.

Visa has raised its dividend for fourteen consecutive years so far. The company’s leadership position in its industry affords it the ability to constantly increase its dividend at an extremely strong growth rate, and still maintain a very reasonable payout ratio of roughly 21%. We expect continued dividend growth from Visa of about 10% per annum, in-line with earnings growth.


Valuation & Expected Returns

Shares of Visa have traded for an average price-to-earnings multiple of around 27.5 in the last ten years. Shares are now trading above this average, which indicates that shares could be overvalued at the current 28.6 times earnings.

Our fair value estimate for Visa stock is 25.0 times earnings. If this proves correct, the stock will incur a -2.6% annualized drag in its returns through 2027.

Shares of Visa currently yield 0.7%, which is in-line with the average yield of 0.75%. On a dividend yield basis, Visa shares seem to be trading at about fair value. Visa has massively increased the dividend over the last decade, and this growth has kept up with the share price, resulting in a consistent dividend yield.

Putting it all together, the combination of valuation changes, EPS growth, and dividends produces total expected returns of 7.9% per year over the next five years. This makes Visa Inc. a hold.


Final Thoughts

Visa has produced outstanding growth during the last decade, including significant profit, dividend, and share price gains. We expect that future performance will be a bit tamer than the 20%+ earnings-per-share growth exhibited in the 2009 to 2019 stretch. Still, Visa has a very strong earnings growth outlook.

Shares appear to be slightly overvalued here, so there may be a better entry point in the future, but the company’s growth thesis remains intact. And we anticipate continued double-digit dividend increases in the intermediate term.


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