VeriFone doesn't mind long check-out lines, but it does try to make them move faster. The company is a leading supplier of electronic payment equipment such as point-of-sale (POS) software and terminals, smart card and check readers, receipt printers, and Internet commerce software. It also gets sales from installation, training, and other services. Customers include government agencies and companies in the hospitality, retail, and health care markets. With clients ranging from small merchants to government-sponsored payment processors, VeriFone augments its direct sales force with a network of distributors, resellers, and systems integrators. More than 65% of VeriFone's revenues are generated outside the US.
VeriFone has benefitted from a general trend away from cash and check transactions toward electronic credit and debit payments. In addition to credit and debit card readers, the company has developed systems that handle radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards, mobile phone transactions, gift cards, electronic bill payments, signature capture, and benefits transfers.
VeriFone provides customized systems that address the specific needs of select markets, including financial services, government, health care, multi-lane retail, and petroleum. Providing pay-at-the-pump functionality to petroleum retailers is an example of such specialization. The expansion of other payment applications, including pay-at-the-table systems for restaurants, is part of the company's growth strategy. The spread of wireless infrastructure has also helped the company, as it creates applications for electronic payments in new areas such as vending machines and taxis. The company has also developed more business by selling advertising on video screens in taxis and gas stations.
Revenue rose more than 30% year-over-year in fiscal 2011. By segment, system solutions, accounting for 79% of sales, rose 24%, while services was up 56%. Gross profit was up 37% during the same period. By segment it rose 36% for system solutions and 42% for services. System solutions did well behind more international sales of new products, which have higher margins, and strong sales in the North American multi-lane retail and financial markets. North American services did well in part behind more sales of petroleum services software maintenance, which also carries a higher margin.
In its system solutions segment the company is focusing on emerging international markets with a growing middle class that is expected to create more demand for electronic payment systems. In North America it is anticipating demand for future-proof systems ready for smartphone payment applications. More specifically the company is counting on the need of the petroleum industry for more secure payment systems at gas stations.
For further growth in its North American services segment the company is focusing on petroleum software maintenance programs, services for the media, and system deployment projects. Abroad, the company is focusing its services business on media and taxi payments and advertising operations in London, as well as other areas.
The company uses acquisitions to build-out its product and technology portfolio while pushing into new geographies. In a 2011 purchase that changed the landscape of the electronic payments systems industry, VeriFone purchased key rival Hypercom in an all-stock transaction valued at around $485 million, including assumed debt. The deal gave VeriFone expanded geographic coverage in a number of key European markets, where Hypercom has an established presence. The transaction also strengthened VeriFone's position against its biggest remaining rival, France-based Ingenico. The company further expanded its European operations with the acquisition in early 2012 of Point, which provides payment and gateway services for the retail sector in more than 10 European countries.
As part of its effort to build its presence in other geographies, VeriFone bought Destiny Electronic Commerce (CSC), a provider of secure payment technologies and services based in South Africa, in 2011. VeriFone expanded into South Korea the previous year when it acquired the assets of payment systems maker Orange Logic. The company renamed the business VeriFone Korea, which continues to manufacture Orange Logic's products, as well as support VeriFone's new VX Evolution product line.
In the US the company acquired LIFT Retail Marketing Technology in 2012 to expand its line of products for convenience store and gas station operators in North America, in particular. LIFT's networked digital marketing hub integrates with retail (POS) systems to provide targeted marketing to individual shoppers by presenting them with digital ads on a touchscreen. The product complements VeriFone's Secure PumpPAY product. – less