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August 2, 2018

WEX in hiring mode as it posts double-digit Q2 revenue gain

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Melissa Smith, president and CEO of WEX Inc., announced today the company is in a hiring mode, with up to 175 new full-time jobs to be filled in Maine by year's end.

WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX) is in a hiring mode in Maine, thanks to continued revenue growth and recent contract wins and renewals.

WEX, Maine's second-largest publicly traded company, today reported double-digit second quarter revenue growth for each of its three divisions on the heels of June's announcement of a significant contract win to issue and operate Shell's full portfolio of commercial fleet cards in the United States and Canada.

The addition of the Shell brand to WEX's commercial fleet card services portfolio — which was announced in early June — involves some ramping up as that fleet card option is offered to customers, WEX President and CEO Melissa Smith told Mainebiz in a phone interview this morning prior to her earnings call with investors.

"We're in an elevated hiring pattern here," she said, referring to the 175 full-time employees in Maine the company expects to hire by the end of the year. "We need more talent."

The ability to expand network options (i.e., the recent deal with Shell), coupled with its longstanding contracts with existing network partners, gives customers more options and is a major "differentiator" for WEX as a payments company in the marketplace, Smith said.

Smith said WEX's 22% increase in total revenue for the second quarter to $370.9 million — compared to $303.9 million for the same period a year ago — represents the eighth straight quarter of double-digit revenue growth.

WEX's quarterly earnings of $2.09 per share beat the Zacks consensus estimate of $2.04 per share and far exceeded its earnings of $1.26 per share a year ago, according to this morning's report from Zacks Equity Research.

Each of the company's three divisions contributed to the double-digit Q2 performance:

  • Fleet card solutions reported revenues of $241.47 million for the three quarters, compared to $200.3 million for Q2 in 2017; for the six months ended June 30, the division reported total revenue of $471.83 million, compared to $391.12 million in 2017.
  • Travel and corporate solutions reported Q2 revenues of $75.76 million, up from $55 million in 2017; its half-year revenues are $142.54 million, up from $102.7 million in 2017.
  • Health and employee benefit solutions reported Q2 revenues of $53.64 million, up from $48.58 million in 2017.

WEX's challenge: Keep growing, but stay nimble

WEX, which is based in South Portland, plans to move next year to a new headquarters on Portland's East End. The site is now under construction and will house much of WEX's domestic workforce, though it plans to maintain its current offices as well.

Roberto Simon, WEX's chief financial officer, said that WEX's business is growing worldwide in each of its three divisions, with strong growth and diversification occuring in Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America. He said that creates opportunities both for employees to expand their knowledge and experience in different parts of the world, as well as for the company, which gains expertise and insights from each division that can cross-fertilize with the other divisions to create new products better able to meet customers' needs.

"You learn more, you share more," he said.

Smith said that as WEX continues to grow — it now has 3,500 employees worldwide — it elevates the importance of being able to hire the talent it needs in an increasingly competitive global hiring marketplace.

"If you look at the markets we're in, we are a technology leader," she said. "As we become bigger, we need to remain nimble" and maintain WEX's technological edge to bring "future-based solutions across many B2B markets."

Smith said the company is also making sure its Maine-based culture of strong customer service and dogged pursuit of solutions is understood and valued by all employees, including those based in different parts of the world. One example: The company brought 200 employees to Maine for its "global leadership summit" in June, which provided training sessions in innovation, leadership and communication.

WEX also recently formalized its sabbatical program by adding it to its benefits package, and also created a "compassion fund" to help employees who might be experiencing a hardship of some sort.

"We are able to do things now that we couldn't do when we were a smaller company," Smith said, adding that such initiatives are noticed by would-be applicants who increasingly check out a company's "sustainability report" in making decisions about where they want to work.

In today's financial report, WEX reported it expects its full-year revenues to be in the range of $1.445 billion to $1.475 billion, with adjusted net income in the range of $344 million to $355 million.

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