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January 28, 2016updated 30 Aug 2016 3:12pm

Positive PayPal financial results start to justify Ebay spinoff

News: PayPal results show a strong 2015 growth in life after EBay.

By Charlotte Henry

PayPal announced its results for the final quarter of 2015 and the full year yesterday, 27th January 2016.

PayPal saw a boost in customer numbers, adding 6.6m new customers over the course of 2015, bringing its total number of customer accounts to 179m.

The online payment service reported revenue of $2.56bn for the fourth quarter of 2015, a 17% increase year-on-year, and $9.2 billion in revenue, an year-on-year increase of 15%, for the full year 2015.

Dan Schulman, President and CEO of PayPal, said: "Our strong results reflect PayPal’s progress in delivering on our strategy to drive the digital payments revolution.

"As money becomes digital and the world goes mobile, we see tremendous opportunity ahead to expand our leadership, transform the way people move and manage their money and deliver increased value to shareholders."

The firm was also positive about the year ahead, forecasting net revenues growth of between 16% and 19%, on a foreign exchange neutral basis.

Panmure Gordon technology analyst George O’Connor said that the set of results for the end of 2015 was positive, calling them "a well received set of numbers," but was slightly less enthusiastic about the forecasts.

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Currency headwinds causing issues for a variety of large tech firms, and PayPal is not immune to them, as Schulman conceded. "In the face of a slow global economy and foreign exchange headwinds, PayPal exceeded its full year revenue, earnings, and free cash flow commitments to shareholders," the CEO said.

"Good in terms of the rearview mirror, fineish in terms of the outlook," was how O’Connor summed up PayPal’s results.

"There’s a phrase that analyst’s are using at the moment – not as bad as feared," he said, "that simply just reflects what has been a pretty difficult time in the market."

Apple shares were hit on the back of its results earlier this week, although O’Connor highlighted that "Facebook just aced it".

In general, looking at tech stocks "You can find casualties and walking dead elsewhere" said O’Connor, but PayPal is not one of those firms, like Apple or VMWare, who have been hit in the markets."

O’Connor said that in the UK there has been a shift to, and then away from mobile wallets "you’ve got some big platform stories in here" he said. He noted PayPal’s lack of presence on the high street, as technology like contactless debit cards become increasingly prevalent, for example on the London Underground.

One of the key developments in recent times for PayPal has been its spinoff of online auctioneer EBay. On the back of the spinoff, major activist investor Carl Icahn swapped his stake in PayPal for shares in Ebay in November 2015.

O’Connor said that "Unhitching it gives [PayPal] that greater reach, but at the same time if you say PayPal you think EBay, and they haven’t unhitched themselves yet. "

Ultimately, PayPal "are trying to get greater reach."

In terms of payments there is room for PayPal, and indeed others, to grow, said O’Conner "There is a huge market here and it is a very early stage market".

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