Net sales increased despite lower business travel volume // International markets drive growth // Extended corporate card offerings for enhanced flexibility
AirPlus International, the leading global provider of payment and settlement solutions for business travel, continued to prevail against last year’s weak market development. In the 2014 financial year, the organization generated close to 12.7 billion euros in settlement revenues from its credit card business, a 7.6 percent increase year over year (2013: 11.8 billion euros). Net sales increased by 7.3 percent to 320 million euros in 2014.
Earnings before taxes were 40.4 million euros compared to 19.5 million euros in 2013. However, comparing the two years does not accurately represent the situation because the 2013 results were skewed by non-recurring effects including write-offs of receivables, expenses incurred in previous years, and investments in the new headquarters in Neu-Isenburg. In 2014, AirPlus managed to return to its reliable growth path.
“The results show that AirPlus has prevailed against the market trend,” says Patrick W. Diemer, Chairman of the AirPlus Board. “In 2014, our innovative and professional payment solutions again succeeded in supporting our customers’ mobility and in acquiring new customers.” While organizations around the world spent 3.6 percent less money on business flights, AirPlus’ business travel volume grew on a global scale and by 2 percent in Germany. Germany, France and Italy remain the markets representing AirPlus’ highest sales. In addition to the U.S.A. and China, France and Italy are the markets in which AirPlus has the highest rates of growth. China has evolved into a strong new market for AirPlus; the country made up more than 25 percent of the organization’s growth in 2014. “More than six years ago our aim was to be the first provider of payment solutions for business travel in China; this strategy now is paying off,” adds Diemer.
Moreover, AirPlus recorded another increase in its customer base: Close to 1,100 new customers were acquired in the 2014 financial year – raising the total to 43,000 customers worldwide.
AirPlus celebrated its 25th anniversary in late 2014. In 1989, the company set the scene for its successful development with the launch of the AirPlus UATP card for settling flight ticket costs. Since then, AirPlus has delivered innovative payment solutions to support the professionalization of the industry and has expanded its business globally. Today, AirPlus operates 25 sites around the world and offers its payment solution in more than 70 countries.
The year 2015 will see an array of new initiatives at AirPlus: The organization will extend its corporate card offerings as soon as the EU’s resolution regarding caps for interchange fees, scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2015, comes into force. Even though corporate cards will be exempt from this regulation, Brussels wants to ensure the exemption relates only to business-induced transactions made with this type of card. AirPlus’ extended product offerings will be in line with the statutory provisions and will enable companies to choose from among a number of settlement models including an AirPlus solution that will support their specific business travel management processes the most effectively. Says Diemer: “We successfully advocated for special conditions for corporate cards to be taken into consideration by the EU when preparing this law. Our extended corporate card portfolio will continue to incorporate the best possible payment solutions for our customers.” No changes are anticipated with regard to the AirPlus Company Account or AirPlus’ virtual payment solution
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