- With the gradual ease in lockdown, the focus has been on restarting and revamping businesses to recover economic losses; experts opine that productivity & GDP might decline in the near-term.
- Exceptionally, the technology sector has evolved as a winner with work and education going virtual, and online shopping gaining traction.
- Tech-savvy players, and virtual dependable like Zoom and Houseparty, have been in the limelight during the period depicting strong demand.
- ASX-listed tech titans like NXT, MP1 and PME have unveiled a positive outlook.
As the lockdown eases and the first coronavirus peak passes, the focus is likely to shift to work and reviving the economy, which took a considerable hit owing to COVID-19. Market experts believe that there are chances of a drop in the productivity and GDP in economies worldwide. However, these predictions might not impact every industry and every company in a similar way.
Relative to other sectors, the technology sector has shown sign of resilience amid the GVC (Global Virus Crisis, as experts are calling it) turmoil with work, social life and entertainment switching online.
In the previous few months, more and more people have been working from home, and the lesser-known apps like Zoom and Houseparty have been stealing the show.
COVID-19 has brought an enormous structural change in the way the world used to work earlier. It has brought changes in consumer and enterprise behaviour. There is also a possibility that even in a post-COVID-19 world, a significant chunk of the population would prefer to work from home-illustrating the importance of technology knocking our doors.
In this backdrop, let us discuss a few future tech titans.
NEXTDC Limited (ASX:NXT)
NEXTDC Limited is a tech company operating data centres providing colocation services to organisations across the globe.
Frost & Sullivan recognises NEXTDC as a leader in the Australian data centre market:
On 1 June 2020, NEXTDC updated that it has been identified as the market leader in the Australian data centre industry by Frost & Sullivan.
Frost and Sullivan appreciated NXT on its commitment to innovation and sustainable operations, continued R&D investments and effective strategic partnerships supporting its strong vision and growth strategy.
Closure of the Share Purchase Plan:
On 5 May 2020, NEXTDC completed the share purchase plan and raised A$191 million.
In total, the company has raised A$863 million, which comprises of A$672 million through institutional placement and A$191 million via SPP. The proceeds from the capital raise would provide the balance sheet flexibility that is needed for accelerating and expanding various additional growth initiatives consistent with recent and anticipated material customer contract wins.
Megaport Limited (ASX:MP1)
Megaport Limited is a leading software-defined networking company.
Launch of NaaS platform in France:
On 2 June 2020, Megaport announced the deployment of its NaaS solution in France which would allow faster, more flexible and secure global interconnectivity services. Megaport would be providing French companies with the power to speed up & make simpler connections to major public cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, IBM, Oracle along with SAP.
Businesses in search of swiftness and security to manage and share data across various cloud platform require rapid, safe, and scalable connectivity solutions. As Megaport can be accessed from the over 600 data centres worldwide and linked to 170 cloud onramps, it fulfils the requirement of such companies.
Pro Medicus Limited (ASX:PME)
Pro Medicus Limited is involved in developing and distributing software and IT solutions to the Public and Private Health sectors.
5-Year contract with Northwestern Memorial HealthCare:
Pro Medicus Limited announced that its 100% owned U.S. subsidiary, Visage Imaging, Inc has entered into a 5-year contract with Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. This supports PME in the extension of its footprint in the U.S. academic hospital segment plus the locally based community hospitals.
EML Payment Limited (ASX:EML)
EML Payment Limited is an issuer of prepaid financial cards.
Financial Highlights during nine months to 31 March 2020:
- Gross Debit Volume improved +55% over the previous corresponding period (pcp) to A$9.83 billion.
- Revenue increased +20% on pcp.
- By the April 2020 end, EML had over A$125 million in cash.
Acquisition of PFS:
On 1 April 2020, the company completed the acquisition of PFS. The company estimated that with the acquisition of PFS, the combined group would turn out to be one of the leading FinTech enablers in open banking & prepaid worldwide.
Nearmap Limited (ASX:NEA)
Nearmap Limited provides geospatial map technology for business, enterprises, and government customers.
NEA's Resilient business and Strong growth Trajectory:
On 28 May 2020, Nearmap updated that its Annualised Contract Value (ACV) continues to grow and has exceeded A$102 million. Based on the present trading conditions, the company anticipates its closing ACV portfolio to be in between A$103 million to A$107 million.
Nearmap announced the release of its latest product Nearmap AI. All the subscribers in Australia and the US would be provided with the latest process set of AI dataset packages. The initial focus would be on the insurance, utility and the local government who were the early adopters while in beta and where the demand is robust.
As per NEA's CEO and MD Dr Rob Newman, the launch of Nearmap AI would reaffirm its position as the global leader in the location in the local intelligence technology. He also stated the company's plan to bring new and innovative products to its rising customer base.
Pushpay Holdings Limited (ASX:PPH)
Pushpay Holdings Limited offers a donor management system which comprises donor and finance tools, and a custom community application to non-profit organisations, education providers and faith industry.
Results For 12 Months to 31 March 2020:
For FY2020 ended 31 March 2020, the company's total revenue increased by 32% to US$129.8 million. Operating revenue was US$127.5 million, an increase of 33%. Operating cash flow improved from negative US$2.8 million to positive operating cash flows US$23.5 million.
PPH anticipates further robust revenue growth as they implement the strategy to gain further market share in the medium-term. PPH expects to achieve EBITDAF for FY2021 in the range of US$48.0 million and US$52.0 million.
In the long run, PPH is aiming over 50% of the medium & large church divisions - a chance that represents over US$1 billion in yearly revenue.
Appen Limited (ASX:APX)
Appen Limited provides training data that give business confidence to deploy world-class Artificial Intelligence. 8 out of the top 10 global companies trust Appen. The company is a proven supplier of high-quality speech, natural language, image, video, and relevance data.
The company has a strong track record of high revenue and earnings growth. It has a broad and deep technology suite that opens the market as well as improves scalability. Further, the staff at Appen are highly experienced.
Its Speech and Image segment is maintaining high revenue growth. Revenue in this segment improved by 32% to A$67.7 million and EBITDA by 11% influenced by large projects peaking in 1H.
A look at the share prices of the tech stocks and their returns as on 2 June 2020:
There is no investor left unperturbed with the ongoing trade conflicts between US-China and the devastating bushfire in Australia.
Are you wondering if the year 2020 might not have taken the right start? Dividend stocks could be the answer to that question.
As interest rates in Australia are already at record low levels, find out which dividend stocks are viewed as the most attractive investment opportunity in the current scenario in our report.