PayPal reports record first-quarter profit on rise of e-commerce​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ during pandemic

Payment volumes processed through the platform rose 50% to $285bn in the first three months of the year

PayPal's Q1 revenue increased 31 per cent to over $6 billion. AP
PayPal's Q1 revenue increased 31 per cent to over $6 billion. AP

PayPal reported a record first-quarter with net profit soaring more than 10 times annually as strong payment volumes were boosted by the shift to online shopping and digital transactions during the pandemic.

The California-based payments giant’s net profit soared to $1.1 billion in the three months ending March 31 from $84 million in the year-earlier period, beating analysts' estimates.

Revenue during the period soared 31 per cent annually to more than $6bn, beating the average $5.9bn estimate of analysts.

“Our strong first-quarter results demonstrate sustained momentum in our business as the world shifts into the digital economy,” said Dan Schulman, PayPal’s chief executive.

“Our addressable market continues to grow as we launch new products and services for our 392 million active accounts."

Payment volumes processed through the platform rose 50 per cent to $285bn in the January-March period. This was PayPal's record for the quarter.

The company's stock was up by almost 4.65 per cent to $258.90 a share in after-hours trading. The share price has increased more than 90 per cent in the past year. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

In its guidance for the second quarter, PayPal said it expected its revenue to reach $6.3bn. It raises its full-year sales forecast to $25.8bn from $25.5bn announced in February.

“Our record-breaking first quarter results underscore the ongoing strength, diversification and relevance of our scaled, two-sided, global payments platform,” said John Rainey, chief financial officer and executive vice president of global customer operations.

“We are raising our financial year 2021 guidance based on these strong results."

PayPal, which added 14.5 million new accounts in the first three months of the year, ended the quarter with 392 million active accounts.

It aims to add new accounts in the range of 52 million to 55 million in the current financial year.

The number of payment transactions on the platform soared by 34 per cent annually to 4.4 billion.

The company’s cash, cash equivalents and investments totalled $19.1bn as of March 31.

It rebought nearly 5.3 million shares of common stock, returning $1.3bn to stockholders.

Paypal has shown “incredibly robust profitability” and “many avenues to pursue future growth”, said David Donovan, executive vice president and head of financial services at digital consultancy Publicis Sapient.

“PayPal offers some of the most competitive products to both customers and merchants, and it strikes the perfect balance between a large reliable investment and an exciting company with growth potential.

“In the past, PayPal has delivered very consistent revenue and earnings growth, and given these strong first quarter results, I expect this to be the case in the foreseeable future."

Venmo, PayPal's app that allows customers in the US to send each other money, processed nearly $51bn in payments in the first quarter, the company said.

Venmo has attracted new users because of its lower fees and the recent addition of cryptocurrency trading, Mr Donovan said.

Last year, PayPal launched a service enabling users to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency.

It enables cryptocurrency as a funding source for its 26 million merchants.

Updated: May 6, 2021 08:59 AM

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