Two former high-flying IT services companies have been the laggards on the JSE in 2017 so far. EOH and Adapt IT have underperformed all other ICT stocks, falling by 33.9% and 42.4% respectively to mid-August.
The two companies have fallen out of favour this year as investors worry that they won’t be able to keep up the stellar growth they have demonstrated in recent years.
Altron, on the other hand, has handily beaten other tech stocks this year, rising 52.2% since the beginning of January on shareholder optimism that the group, whose share price has fallen sharply in recent years, is turning around its fortunes under new CEO Mteto Nyati.
EOH, which is down a quarter year on year — a rare decline for a previously consistently outperforming share, has fallen as investors have become jittery over the departure of former CEO Asher Bohbot and speculative media reports that it has been involved dodgy government deals.
The concerns have prompted EOH management to seek to reassure investors that the group remains “strong, with a great leadership team and strong fundamentals”.
Adapt IT has also come under considerable pressure since reporting interim results earlier this year that showed a sharp slowdown in organic growth. Adapt IT is set to publish its annual results for the year ended June 30 on August 28, it said this week.
Apart from Altron, other top performers so far this year have been Mix Telematics, in second place, with its share rising by 45.3%. Global technology and media group Naspers has performed well off the back of its investment in Chinese Internet giant Tencent, rising almost 40% since January and giving it a market capitalisation of R1.2 trillion.
Vodacom (up 20.7% this year) and Alviva Holdings (formerly Pinnacle Holdings, up 17.2%) round out the top five.
The two other big listed telecommunications stocks, MTN and Telkom, haven’t performed as well as Vodacom. MTN, which is trading at less half its peak in 2014, has lost a further 2.7% since the beginning of the year, while Telkom has declined by 10.6%.
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