Visa Hives Off Overseas Divisions

31 January 2006

Global credit card giant Visa International is continuing to convert its regional divisions into separate companies.

The next step along the route, which has already spun-off the USA and Europe, will see a parting of the ways in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Visa says it is adapting to worldwide growth in credit card transactions; also to increased regulation and scrutiny by retailers.

In the year to last September, Visa's operations in Asia-Pacific processed card transactions worth about $560bn (€463.44bn; £317.3bn), or about 14% of the global total.

Ceo Christopher Rodrigues says this level of growth will drive the company's decision to incorporate the remaining regional networks.

Visa and its main rival, Mastercard, have been criticised by US retailers over the amount they charge to process payments on their networks. Competition authorities in Europe are also examining the charges.

In addition, the company is keen to demonstrate independence from its banking shareholders and to this end has recommended all its regions have at least two independent directors.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff