Christopher Adams

Christopher Adams is the Markets and Banking reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Tech stock volatility could hit Serko listing

Darrin Grafton.
Darrin Grafton.

Investor demand for New Zealand software company Serko's sharemarket debut could be affected by the volatility that has hit technology stocks this year, says chairman Simon Botherway.

The Auckland-based company, which has developed cloud-based corporate travel booking systems, has announced plans to float on the NZX main board on June 24 through a $1.10 a share listing that will raise up to $22 million.

Botherway said the listing would leave Serko with close to $10 million in cash, which the company will use to fund its bullish expansion plans in the US$380 billion Asia Pacific corporate travel market.

Serko will be the first technology business to list on the NZX in 2014, a year in which tech equities - particularly those involved in cloud software and biotechnology - have been hit by a global sell-off as investors reassess the soaring valuations of many businesses.

Shares in New Zealand online accounting software provider Xero, for example, closed at $32.30 last night, 26.7 per cent down on their record high of $44.98 in March.

Botherway said it was possible that the volatility could have an impact on demand for the Serko float and it had already affected the valuation.

In May last year Serko was planning to list 25 per cent of the company for $20 million, which would have valued it at $80 million.

Now the company is aiming to list roughly 33 per cent for $22 million, giving the firm a value of $67 million.

"A year ago there were different value expectations," Botherway said. "Perhaps that does reflect market realities."

Serko co-founder and chief executive Darrin Grafton was not concerned about the market volatility.

"We're not afraid of what the markets are going to do because we're focused on what we want to achieve out of this and that's our vision of where we want to take this technology," Grafton said. "We want to be on every corporate desk top and every corporate traveller device out there."

Serko's technology allows companies to book and manage travel needs, including flights, accommodation and vehicles, through a single online platform, rather than having to visit multiple websites.

The company is anticipating revenue of $11 million with a bottom-line loss of $6.5 million in the year to March 2015. Revenue in the year to March 2014 was $6.7 million. Sales of $8.3 million are expected in the six months to September 30, 2015.

Serko is investing heavily in its growth ambitions. But the company did not expect to return to the market for further capital raisings and was expected to be cashflow positive by March 2016, Botherway said.

Serko - which counts the Australian Federal Government, PwC, Telstra and KPMG among its clients - earns more than 90 per cent of its revenue in Australia and the company is expecting US$3 billion in corporate travel to be transacted through its platform in the current financial year.

The firm, which employs more than 90 staff in four countries, claims to have a 20 per cent share of transactions in Australia's US$14 billion corporate travel market.

Serko

• Cloud-based corporate travel booking software.
• Shares to be issued at $1.10, raising up to $22 million.
• Capital raised will be used to employ staff and fund growth ambitions in Asia Pacific region.
• NZX main board listing expected on June 24.
• Forecasting revenue of $11 million and a bottom-line loss of $6.5 million in financial year.

- NZ Herald

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