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Worldline ends a dark year in the red

On Wednesday, payment specialist Worldline announced a net loss of 817 million euros for 2023.

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Worldline ends a dark year in the red

On Wednesday, payment specialist Worldline announced a net loss of 817 million euros for 2023. Due to high inflation in 2023, the company was forced to write down its core business, merchant services. Breakdowns, stock market collapse, death of the president, revolt of an activist fund... nothing was spared last year for the French payment service provider. 2023 “was a year of contrast for Worldline”, modestly summed up its general director, Gilles Grapinet, during a press conference, remembering, however, a not so bad first half. But in the second part of the year, the “marked deterioration in consumption in Europe” severely penalized the profitability of the group, forced to depreciate its main activity, services to merchants, by 1.15 billion euros, i.e. approximately 10% of its value.

On the social front, Worldline had to announce on February 7 a plan to cut jobs, affecting up to 8% of its 18,000 employees worldwide, or around 1,400 people, including 330 in France. Gilles Grapinet explained, on the sidelines of the presentation of the annual results, that high inflation (4.9% in France last year according to INSEE, even more in other markets of the group) had caused “a strong slowdown sales volumes among merchants and arbitrage (...) of certain categories of consumers, abandoning small businesses in favor of large-scale businesses. However, Worldline achieves a better margin on its myriad of “small” customers than on the largest, such as hard discount players for example, who negotiate very reduced costs with their payment providers thanks to their business volume.

Without the depreciation of 1.15 billion euros recorded in its accounts, the group would be in the green, he stressed, with a net profit of 521 million euros, however down 4.3% on a year. Worldline, whose stock plunged 60% on the stock market in October after a downward revision of its turnover growth forecast, ended 2023 with an increase of 6% in its sales, to 4.61 billion euros. .

For 2024, the group now has a “cautious” turnover growth objective of at least 3%, and is aiming for an increase of between 5 and 9% from 2025, thanks to its merchant services activity. Investors sanctioned these figures: around 9:50 a.m. on the Paris Stock Exchange, Worldline shares lost 10.25%, to 10.99 euros, in a market up slightly by 0.10%. Worldline is also working on a new version of its board of directors, expected by the end of March.

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