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American Express surpasses Q4 estimates, expecting more growth in 2022

The credit card company revealed better than expected fourth-quarter earnings, with quarterly revenue increasing 30% from last year.
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Written by Evan Zimmer, Finance Writer on

American Express announced Tuesday its reported earnings for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2021 of $1.7 billion, or $2.18 per share, up 24% from the same period the previous year, on revenue of $12.2 billion.

The company surpassed analyst expectations considerably for the fourth quarter, which were estimated at $1.78 a share.

The company's quarterly revenue also rose 30% to $12.2 billion, compared to $9.4 billion the prior year. According to the company press release, the increase in revenue is mostly due to a rise in cardmember spending. For the full year, revenue is up 17%, to $42.4 billion, up from $36.1 billion in 2020.

"We delivered strong fourth-quarter and full-year results that exceeded our expectations thanks to the efforts of our dedicated and talented colleagues," said American Express Chairman and CEO Stephen J. Squeri.

In addition, Squeri said that he expects revenue to continue to grow in 2022 due to the implementation of a new growth plan "that will enable [American Express] to continue investing at high levels in [its] customers, brand, and talent."

As the economy returns to a more stable state and travel continues to pick up, Squeri said he expects the company to generate 18% to 20% higher revenue levels in 2022, with earnings per share of $9.25 to $9.65.  

The Associated Press reports that American Express customers spent $368.1 billion on AmEx credit cards in the fourth quarter, up from $285.9 billion spent in 2020. And while consumer spending is up, according to the numbers released by American Express, so are expenses.

The company reported that consolidated expenses for the fourth quarter were $9.8 billion, a 29% increase from $7.6 billion one year ago. The company says this is due in part to higher usage of travel-related benefits, an indication that consumers are traveling more and more.

The company also announced plans to increase the regular quarterly dividend on its shares by 20%, from 43 cents per share to 52 cents. The change will take effect in the first quarter of 2022, pending board approval.

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