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January 18, 2019

American Express swings to $2bn profit in Q4

American Express has reported a net income of $2bn for the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to a net loss of $1.2bn in the year ago quarter.

Total revenues for the quarter ended 31 December 2018 were $10.4bn, an increase of 8% from $9.7bn in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The company attributed the rise in revenue to higher cardholder spending, loan volumes and card fees.

During the quarter, American Express’ expenses increased by 9% to $7.7bn.

American Express chairman and CEO Stephen Squeri said: “We continue to see very good returns on the investments we’ve been making to gain share and add scale.

“Card member spending rose an fx-adjusted 8%, lapping a strong year-ago quarter. This was the sixth consecutive quarter with revenue growth of at least 8%, and it was driven again by higher card member spending, loans and card fees.”

Squeri noted that the company added 12 million new cards and expanded its merchant network in 2018.

American Express Q4 results showed that Global Consumer Services Group recorded a net income of $702m for the quarter, an increase of 13% year-on-year.

Net income at the Global Commercial Services unit surged 15% year-on-year to $624m from $542m last year.

Furthermore, the Global Merchant and Network Services division of the company posted a net income of $501m, up 9% compared to $459m a year earlier.

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