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Serko shares soar to 2 1/2 year high on earnings upgrade

Serko shares soar to 2 1/2 year high as earnings upgrade whets appetite for growth stocks

By Paul McBeth

Oct. 12 (BusinessDesk) - Serko shares soared 28 percent after an earnings upgrade this week was enough to whet the appetite for investors keen on growth-orientated stocks.

The stock jumped 25 cents to $1.15 as at 1.15pm today, the highest level since December 2014 and just shy of the $1.20 record it posted that same month. Serko shares have soared 77 percent this week, during which time the Auckland-based online travel software booking firm said first-half revenue climbed 30 percent and delivered positive earnings in the six months ended Sept. 30, and signed up to a partnership deal with Gullivers Travel Associates.

"The two announcements this week have gone some way to helping," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene in Christchurch. "Investors are really looking for growth stocks at the moment - we've seen that with A2 and Xero - they're looking for anything that's going to produce well above-average growth."

Serko listed in June 2014, selling shares in an initial public offering at $1.10apiece to raise $17 million, but was punished when Australia's economic slowdown and product delays weighed on revenue. That saw the stock fall as low as 25 cents in April this year, but those fortunes have reversed as a clampdown on spending gave it the confidence to affirm a target of generating a profit in 2018.

Williamson said the stock is particularly volatile and isn't traded heavily, with just an average of 10,000 shares changing hands a week over the past three weeks. This week has seen most interest with 330,000 shares already traded, of which almost 200,000 were today.

"It's a relatively high-risk stock" and "isn't the for the faint-hearted," he said.

As at April 30, 773 shareholders were on Serko's register, with the 47 biggest holding 83 percent of the voting rights. When it went public in June 2014 it had 834 shareholders on the register, of which the 41 biggest held 85 percent of the voting rights.

(BusinessDesk)


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