FleetCor: A Fleeting Growth Opportunity

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With the payments solutions space on fire lately, there are few companies that still trade under the radars of most investors. However, FleetCor Technologies manages to do just that, and as such offers investors above-average growth at very attractive multiples.

A niche business in the payments space
FleetCor operates as a provider of fuel cards and specialized payment products primarily to North American and European markets. The company offers its products and services, many of which are customizable, to a wide array of customers including businesses, commercial fleets, major oil companies, and various government entities. 


FleetCor's major partners in its fleet operator business include MasterCard , AllStar in the UK, and CTF in Brazil. The company's major oil partners include BP, Chevron, and CITGO

Unlike the major credit card companies like MasterCard and Visa , which offer payment cards primarily to consumers for personal use, FleetCor's business model is geared directly towards businesses and government entities. The company's fuel cards are issued to commercial and government fleets for the purpose of purchasing fuel or lodging accommodations.

The benefits of fuel card programs like FleetCor's are threefold. First, they provide a way for businesses to save money on fuel by taking advantage of wholesale prices. Second, they increase security by allowing businesses to track transactions as they occur and eliminating the need for cash entirely. Third, they allow for businesses to more easily track routes and patterns of drivers, which can be used to further enhance fleet efficiency. 

Growth opportunities
FleetCor currently offers its products and services in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, UK, Czech Republic, and Netherlands/Benelux. Outside of these markets, the company has significant room to expand, as much of the world still remains untapped for FleetCor.

However, the company still has substantial room to grow in the geographic markets in which it currently operates. Management recently demonstrated this fact in the company's latest earnings call when they announced that FleetCor was acquiring Epyx, a provider of complimentary services to fleets in the UK. While it already had a significant presence in the UK with regard to the fuel card business, FleetCor has now extended beyond simple payments solutions in the UK into providing repair services to fleets as well. 

This recent acquisition of Epyx highlights the fact that management is not afraid to incorporate new elements of the fleet business into FleetCor's product and service mix. It also makes the company's overall business more diverse, which should prove to be a positive for investors going forward.

Industry-leading growth
Although FleetCor's business model is a bit different than those of traditional credit card companies like MasterCard and Visa, its growth is not. The following is a breakdown of FleetCor's projected growth and valuation levels compared to those of both MasterCard and Visa. 

Company

FleetCor

MasterCard

Visa

Revenue Growth 2014

25%

12.1%

10.2%

EPS Growth 2014

22.8%

17.5%

17.1%

Forward P/E

23.79

24.23

19.05

(Numbers courtesy of Yahoo! Finance)

As the above data indicates, FleetCor is projected to grow revenue twice as fast as MasterCard and Visa in 2014. The company's earnings-per-share growth is also projected to be considerably better next year than those of both MasterCard and Visa. However, the best part is that the superior growth does not come at too steep of a price for investors, as FleetCor's forward price/earnings multiple of 23.79 is slightly lower than MasterCard's 24.23, and only a bit higher than Visa's 19.05.

Final thoughts
In a segment that has been as popular as payments solutions has been in recent years, it is exceedingly rare to find a company like FleetCor. Management has operated a utilitarian business at extremely high levels in recent years, all while rewarding investors handsomely and still avoiding much of the spotlight.

However, the numbers speak for themselves: FleetCor is projected to grow revenue and EPS much faster than MasterCard and Visa next year, while trading at a comparable forward P/E multiple. As such, FleetCor remains a great prospect for investors seeking long-term, mid-cap growth.

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The article FleetCor: A Fleeting Growth Opportunity originally appeared on Fool.com.

Philip Saglimbeni owns shares of MasterCard and FLEETCOR TECHNOLOGIES INC. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron, MasterCard, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of MasterCard and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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