Wex Inc. has lowered its first-quarter revenue expectations as the company feels the economic effect of the novel coronavirus.

The Portland-based payment processing technology firm said Wednesday that its expected revenue would be off 2 percent to 3 percent because of some price impacts from the global impact of the virus.

The company estimated it would generate revenue of $445 million to $455 million in the first quarter of the year in its 2019 earnings report released in February.

“Wex’s underlying business trends remain strong as our U.S. health and corporate payments businesses are performing better than expected,” the company said in a press release. “However, travel, and to a lesser extent shipping activity and fuel prices, are being negatively impacted by the coronavirus.”

That impacts the company’s travel and fleet payment businesses, it said, adding that the expectation assumes the trends seen in February will continue through March.

Wex has about 1,500 workers in Maine and 4,700 worldwide.


The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, can cause a severe respiratory illness known as COVID-19.

The virus is believed to have spread from an initial transmission in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. There have been confirmed cases in more than 70 countries and almost 3,200 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Almost 100 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S., and the virus has been blamed for 10 deaths, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Fears about the virus have jolted stock markets in the U.S. and elsewhere and shaken global supply chains and travel for business and leisure.

In its press release, Wex said it was not prepared to estimate the coronavirus’s impact on its second-quarter and year-end results, “given the uncertainty regarding the magnitude, duration and global reach of the situation.”

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