It’s not a false start, or a head fake.
Tech is, finally, back in a big way on the TSX. Last week’s oversubscribed IPO of Ottawa’s Halogen Software provided a hint that the demand for technology had finally returned, but the performance of the index so far this year gives us resounding evidence.
After closing 2012 as the top performing sector on the TSX and TSXV, tech is out of the gate with a huge lead in 2013. The tech sector has increased by 20% this year, growing to $54-billion in market value. Tech is up 46% since the start of 2012, and its issuers have raised $1.6-billion in that period of time.
What’s different about 2013 is that these premiums, for the most part, aren’t the result of buyouts from larger U.S. companies, but instead from investors piling into a sector that has been growing in the shade. Indeed, many of the names on the list below will be familiar to those who have followed the space. We count down the the TSX listed tech stocks with the best performances since the beginning of this year.
1. Softchoice (TSX:SO) +40.2%
Price on December 31st, 2012: $11.94
Price on May 29th, 2013: $19.98
OK, that stuff we mentioned about the gains in the sector not coming from acquisition premiums? Let’s make Softchoice our one notable exception. In April, the Toronto-based company announced its board had unanimously approved the sale of the company to Birch Hill Capital Partners for $20 per share, a number that values the company at approximately $412-million. Last week, two independent proxy research and advisory firms, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis & Co., published reports recommending that their clients who are Softchoice shareholders vote in favour of the plan of arrangement.
2. Solium Capital (TSX:SUM) +37.9%
Price on December 31st, 2012: $2.65
Price on May 29th, 2013: $4.27
M Partners analyst Ron Shuttleworth says Solium Capital is “crushing expectations”. Earlier this month, Solium reported its Q1, 2013 results. The company earned $2.67-million on revenue of $18.2-million, up 43% from the last year’s Q1. Solium, which helps companies sort through the regulatory tangle that is equity-based compensation, has recently scaled up to capitalize on opportunities in the U.S. and U.K.
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3. Sandvine (TSX:SVC) +37.4%
Price on December 31st, 2012: $1.32
Price on May 29th, 2013: $2.11
Cormark analyst Richard Tse says that, following a year in which it struggled though partner changes and product revisions, Sandvine is finally hitting its stride. In April, the Waterloo-based provider of network policy control solutions reported its Q1, 2013 numbers. The company earned earned $1.7-million on revenue of $25-million. Tse says he believes Sandvine’s recent growth is sustainable because the company’s intellectual property has proven difficult to replicate.
4. Points International (TSX:PTS) +34.1%
Price on December 31st, 2012: $11
Price on May 29th, 2013: $16.70
Toronto-based Points International lives at the corner of technology and loyalty programs, which these days is a good place to be. The company manages the back end of loyalty currencies, frequent flyer miles, hotel points, retailer rewards and credit card points. Points has more than fifty partners worldwide including Delta, BestBuy, Starbucks and PayPal. Points has grown its revenue from $30 million in 2007 to the $139.5-million it reported for fiscal 2012. PI analyst Pardeep Sangha has BUY rating and $25 one-year target price on the stock.
5. Sierra Wireless (TSX:SW) +32.7%
Price on December 31st, 2012: $7.92
Price on May 29th, 2013: $11.78
When Sierra Wireless sold its AirCard unit to California-based Netgear early this year, it was the last and largest move in a long term plan. That plan was to become a machine-to machine pure play, something the company sees as a path to sustainable profitability. Following the company’s recently announced Q1 results, Cantech Letter’s Nick Waddell talked to CEO Jason Cohenour.
6. Avigilon (TSX:AVO) +31.5%
Price on December 31st, 2012: $11.70
Price on May 29th, 2013: $17.09
Cantech Letter’s 2012 Canadian Tech Stock of the Year look to be gunning for a repeat performance. In February, the Vancouver-based tech company became Canada’s newest $100-million tech company. The number was achieved so quickly, it made the company’s stated goal of reaching $500-million in revenue by fiscal 2016 believable.
7. Absolute Software (TSX:ABT) +28.8%
Price on December 31st, 2012: $5.10
Price on May 29th, 2013: $7.16
Investors should take a close look at Absolute Software say Cantor Fitzgerald analysts Justin Kew and Tom Liston, because they expect “significant capital appreciation in the near term” from the Vancouver-based security software company. Kew and Liston note that while management recently provided an outlook on the remainder of fiscal 2013 that was “muted”, they company says it does expect sales contracts to resume robust growth in 2014, largely from the iOS and Samsung markets.
8. DDS Wireless (TSX:DD) +28.8%
Price on December 31st, 2012: $1.60
Price on May 29th, 2013: $2.25
Shares of DDS Wireless have risen on the back of an order backlog that has grown to a record $30-million. The Richmond, B.C.-based company is seeing growing demand for its wireless mobile data solutions that manage vehicle fleets.
9. Redknee (TSX:RKN) +26.5%
Price on December 31st, 2012: $2.08
Price on May 29th, 2013: $2.83
M Partners analyst Ron Shuttleworth says Redknee’s big acquisition is showing signs of stickiness and stability. Last December, Redknee surprised the market with the announcement of the $54-million acquisition of certain assets owned by Nokia Siemens Networks’ Business Support Systems. Shuttleworth, who called the acquisition “transformational”, said Redknee had gained a major footprint into the tier-one carrier market, instantly adding 35 such customers. Redknee added a total of 130 customers in ninety countries, 90% of which were new to the company.
10. Tucows (TSX:TC) +25.5%
Price on December 31st, 2012: $1.37
Price on May 29th, 2013: $1.84
Tucows, originally an acronym for The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software, has a long and colorful history of dabbling in various businesses that have, at times, confused analysts and shareholders alike. The Company was formed in Flint, Michigan, incorporated in Pennsylvania and headquartered in Toronto. If you noticed Tucows, it was probably in the 90′s when its website directory of shareware, freeware, and demo software was everywhere. The Company is now into domain registration, where it is the third largest ICANN-accredited registrar in the world.