Earns American Express

A sign for American Express hangs outside a New York business, as shown on Wednesday. The company reported its quarterly financial results, announcing it will shed six per cent of its current workforce. (Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press)

American Express said Wednesday it plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs this year, about six per cent of its total workforce.

The New York-based charge card company said the cuts are part of a company-wide efficiency drive. The announcement came as it reported an 11 per cent rise in fourth-quarter profit.

The cuts will span the company's U.S. and international operations and will take place over the course of the year, American Express spokeswoman Marina Norville said.

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc., with headquarters in Markham, Ont. The company employs about 3,700 in 13 cities across the country, according to its website and a recent press release.

The company will take a $313 million US pre-tax charge in the fourth quarter, partly as a result of the cuts. In a conference call with investors, American Express Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Campbell said some of the job cuts will be offset by hiring in other parts of the company.

American Express last did mass job cuts in 2013, when it cut 5,400 jobs, mostly in its travel business.

American Express said it earned $1.45 billion, or $1.39 per share, in the three-month period that ended Dec. 31. That compares with a profit of $1.31 billion, or $1.21 a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue net of interest expense was $9.11 billion, compared with $8.55 billion a year ago.

For the full year, American Express' profits rose 10 per cent to $5.89 billion, or $5.56 per share.

American Express shares fell two per cent to $85.90 in after-market trading.