It was a tale of two very different technology companies when Gentrack and Serko announced listing plans on Monday.

Both are involved in the software trade, with a focus on overseas markets, but the similarities pretty much end there.

Founded in 1988, Gentrack - which develops software for energy and water companies, as well as airports - competes against the likes of SAP and Oracle and could be described as an old-school software player.

It's even turning profits, which have become a little unfashionable in today's growth-obsessed technology world, and is anticipating dividend payments.

Advertisement

Gentrack has forecast a net profit of $3.7 million in 2014, rising to $9.3 million in 2015.

Chief executive James Docking described the firm as "profit driven" this week, in contrast with other tech players such as online accounting software provider Xero that are expecting strong revenue and customer growth but ongoing losses.

Serko, which has developed cloud-based corporate travel booking software, comes very much from the new school. It has many similarities with Xero and is focused on its growth ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region rather than the bottom-line.

Chief executive Darrin Grafton is on the record as saying profits are a "lost opportunity".

The company, founded in 2007, is anticipating a net loss of $6.5 million in the 12 months to March 2015, up from a $1.7 million loss in the same period a year earlier.

Serko's growth is taking place at the top line, with revenue of $11 million expected in the year to March 2015, up from $6.7 million in the previous year.

Gentrack is projecting more modest revenue growth, lifting from $40.6 million in the current financial year to $44.7 million in the next.

The company is looking to raise up to $100 million through its listing, which it will use to pay down debt and enable a partial sell-down of stock by existing shareholders.

Serko is aiming to raise as much as $22 million. Up to $17 million will come from the public, with the option to raise a further $5 million from existing shareholders if the offer is oversubscribed. Serko will use the funds raised to take on more staff as it pushes to achieve its bullish growth plans in the US$380 billion ($448 billion) Asia Pacific corporate travel market.

BAROMETER FOR APPETITE

Serko expects to float on the NZX main board on June 24, while Gentrack will likely carry out its dual NZX/ASX listing the following day.

The two offers could provide an interesting insight into investor appetite following the volatility that has hit technology shares around the world this year.

Local software stocks -- including Xero, Wynyard Group and SLI Systems -- are well down on their record highs of earlier this year following a global sell-off of growth-focused equities.

Gentrack's focus on profits could prove popular with investors given the present market conditions.

A market source told Stock Takes that initial feedback suggested the investment community was "more comfortable" with Gentrack than Serko.

ROOM TO GROW

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare shares are pushing towards an all-time high following the bumper annual profit the company reported last week.

The Auckland-based medical device manufacturer's shares touched $4.45 on Wednesday afternoon, the highest point since November 2006. The stock hit an all-time high of $4.70 in July 2006.

F&P Healthcare reported a record full-year net profit of $97.1 million, up 26 per cent on the previous year.

Its share price plunged to $1.89 less than two years ago when the company - which derives roughly 50 per cent of its operating revenue in US dollars - was facing falling profits due to pressure from the strong New Zealand dollar.

Since then the firm has combated the high kiwi with new product launches, a successful currency hedging strategy and cost efficiencies gained from its Mexican manufacturing plant.

Rickey Ward, JBWere's New Zealand equity manager, said a particularly pleasing aspect of last week's result was continued double-digit revenue growth in both of the company's divisions -- respiratory acute care products and devices for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea -- as well as margin retention.

"It appears they have gained market share." Ward said F&P Healthcare was priced for growth and tended to exceed market expectations.

"I see nothing to suggest that there will be any slowdown, meaning growth will catch up with the current multiple that the company trades on."

FLAT BEER

Shares in Moa sank to a record low yesterday after Forsyth Barr downgraded the stock, saying the brewer was an "unappetising investment case".

The craft beer firm's stock initially fell as low as 40c, before regaining some ground to close down 17.3 per cent at 43c.

Forsyth Barr -- which downgraded Moa from "neutral" to "underperform" on Tuesday - raised concerns about Moa's cash reserves ($4.1 million at March 31, down from $11.5 million a year earlier), slower than expected export growth and focus on lower-margin products.

On Monday the company reported a full-year net loss of $5.8 million, up from a $1.9 million loss a year earlier but within the guidance of $5 million to $6 million provided in November.

EBOS STAKE SNAPPED

US financial services and mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments has snapped up a 7 per cent stake in New Zealand's Ebos Group.

Boston-based Fidelity holds around US$1.7 trillion in mutual fund assets and Ebos chief executive Mark Waller described the company's investment as a "vote of confidence" in the Christchurch-based healthcare distributor.

Ebos quadrupled its revenue through a billion-dollar acquisition of Australian pharmaceutical wholesaler Symbion last year.

Waller said representatives of the investment company had flown to New Zealand in 2013 to interview Ebos executives.

"They just see us as the best player in this sector in the region ... with the best growth potential," Waller said, adding that Fidelity had indicated that its investment in the Kiwi company was a "long-term hold".

He said Fidelity had not expressed any plans to lift its stake in Ebos beyond 7 per cent.

The company's shares, closed down 2c yesterday, or 0.2 per cent, at $9.53.

HOT PROPERTY

Listed property stocks have had a solid reporting season, a fund manager says.

Companies in the sector including Goodman Property Trust, Argosy and DNZ have reported full-year results this month.

Goodman's after-tax profit rose 72.1 per cent to $134.1 million, Argosy's profit more than doubled to $85.6 million and DNZ reported a 16 per cent rise in distributable profit after tax to $27.7 million.

Harbour Asset Management portfolio manager Shane Solly said the property stocks, which had benefited from lower interest costs and lower-than-expected tax, had "quietly outperformed the market".