PayPal CFO addresses 3 pain points in earnings including eBay, dollar

Wall Street’s relative disappointment with PayPal’s fourth-quarter earnings report — with the exception of the almost-profitable Venmo — may have stemmed from the company’s forward guidance, CFO John Rainey told CNBC on Thursday.

In an exclusive “Mad Money” interview after PayPal’s report, Rainey emphasized that management was “really pleased” with the fourth-quarter results, highlighting the company’s 26-percent earnings per share growth and its record-breaking net new customer additions.

But there were three potential pain points in PayPal’s first-quarter guidance that were worth addressing, Rainey told CNBC’s Jim Cramer after the financial technology company’s shares dropped 3.96 percent.

“There’s probably three things that stand out that are impacting us, and, in order, eBay is the first,” the CFO said of PayPal’s former parent company. “We still have 10 percent of the volume on our platform, which is eBay’s business. And, as eBay has discussed, they’re expecting slower growth, so that has an impact on our business.”

Issue No. 2 for the San Jose, California-based company has to do with the strength of the U.S. dollar, Rainey said.

“We have foreign currency pressure,” he said, referring to the problem of foreign earnings translating into fewer U.S. dollars due to the dollar’s strength against other currencies.

Because about 20 percent of PayPal’s business is “cross-border,” a stronger dollar tends to put some pressure on its global earnings, Rainey explained.

“And then lastly, and somewhat tied to the currency pressure, is there are pockets in regions of the world right now where we see slower growth than we did at this point in time last year,” the CFO told Cramer.

But while these potential weaknesses may persist in early 2019, PayPal is seeing longer-term tailwinds tied to the rise of digital payments and the number of people with mobile phones who don’t have easy access to traditional financial services, Rainey said.

“I do believe that this is not going to be a winner-take-all game,” he said of the mobile payments space. “I also believe that, with the secular tailwinds that we see in our business, there is a bit of a tendency of a rising tide lifting all ships. But we’re in an excellent competitive position here.”

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