The volume of transactions processed in 2023 was up 26% on the previous year, thanks in particular to a strategic partnership with the controversial CashApp application. Payments processed at the point of sale - one-sixth of sales - rose by 42%.

On the other hand, the decline in margins reflects the acute and abundant competition in the sector, as at PayPal. Despite a 22% increase in sales over the year, operating profit before depreciation and amortization - or EBITDA - rose by just 2%.

Is the Dutch company's advantage sustainable in the long term? Adyen used to boast an operating margin and profitability twice those of PayPal; a unified technological platform and lower wage costs explained this difference. But PayPal is undergoing restructuring - as is Stripe.

The two American industry leaders are making no secret of their ambitions: to return to growth, even if this means sacrificing margin points in the short term. They are betting that, in the longer term, merchants' dependence on their services will give them powerful pricing power.

For the time being, the market has eyes only for the Dutch company. Witness the extraordinary valuation differential, for once in favor of a European group over an American rival: Adyen is trading at 48x its expected EBITDA next year, compared with barely x8 for PayPal.

This is not the only difference between the two groups. A sort of anti-PayPal in more ways than one, Adyen has publicly declared its opposition to acquisitions, focusing instead on organic growth.