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Is Dye & Durham a Buy right now?

Canadian software name Dye & Durham (Dye & Durham Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:DND) may not be your first choice for go-to stocks during the current period of volatility in the markets but the company does have some protection possibly not afforded to other tech names, according to portfolio manager Brendan Caldwell.

“Dye & Durham is one that we’ve certainly owned over the years and it’s interesting that they really have built up their portfolio of these different packages from law to financial and different business areas,” said Caldwell, president of Caldwell Investment Management, who spoke on BNN Bloomberg on Friday.

Dye & Durham broke out of the gates as a public company in July, 2020, when the company’s IPO raised $150 million, valuing DND at about $310 million. The public offering was fortunate to come when it did, as optimism about tech stocks and the tech industry in general was high at the time, about half a year into the pandemic when lockdowns made everyone even more reliant on tech platforms to either get the job done or keep retail shops and restaurants alive via their online orders. 

That was also the case for Dye & Durham, which has cloud-based workflow and productivity solutions for the legal and business professional industries, allowing users access to legal registries and public records, for instance.

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And the market seemed to love DND at first, with investors pushing the stock to almost double on its opening day. It rose even higher over the ensuing weeks, going from $14 to as high as $50 by December 2020. 

But just like other early COVID winners (Amazon, Zoom) DND peaked fast and then flattened out for a good year or more before starting to drop in earnest when the market had had enough of tech and growth stocks, starting about November of 2021. Since then it’s been pretty much downhill for Dye & Durham, with the stock now back to a humble $22 and change.

The trials of its share price aside, the company itself has been taking fire over the past year for its practice of raising fees for use of its software, resulting earlier this year in a class-action lawsuit from real estate lawyers over the price hikes. 

But Caldwell said Dye & Durham could be a good bet on a recovering economy, with the company and stock serving “as a way of betting on the rebound in the economy and in financial services that doesn’t actually have to be exposed to loan losses.”

“You have the best of technology and financial services rolled into one with Dye & Durham, so it’s an interesting play [but] not one that we own at present,” he said. “It’s kind of like private equity, the way private equity takes over a Mom-and-Pop business and then wrings all the costs out of it and optimizes prices.”

Last month, Dye & Durham reported its third quarter fiscal 2022 financial results, showing revenue up 78 per cent to $122.9 million and a net loss of $7.0 million. Adjusted EBITDA increased by 78 per ent to $66.8 million.

“We had a very strong quarter, despite challenging real estate market conditions. We’re investing significantly in our technology platform to continue to provide enhanced value to our customers,” said Matt Proud, CEO, in a press release.

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