Visa – a priceless brand and a valuable stock

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Ashley Pittard is a director and founding shareholder of PM CAPITAL. He is the portfolio manager for the company's global equities strategies. Ashley also has responsibility for analyst coverage of technology (software, hardware and semiconductors), commodities, energy, consumer and media, globally.

How long have you held Visa?

We acquired the business during the October 2014 market turmoil at a 17x P/E multiple. We have followed Visa closely for many years but the opportunity to invest arose as volatility returned to the market late last year causing a notable share price drop in five business days, falling to an attractive entry price. The share price has subsequently appreciated almost 30% since that time.

What do you like about it?

Visa is the world’s largest retail electronic payments network, the essential middleman enabling the further penetration of electronic payments over cash and cheque. Over the last five years, Visa has grown sales at a low double-digit rate, with EBIT margins of 65%, whilst maintaining net cash on its balance sheet. We acquired the business during market turmoil and believe significant upside remains. We believe that significant further penetration remains, as illustrated by the chart, which stands at 35% (ex-China), up from 25% since 2007.

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