Athens-based Globo best performer on London’s FTSE AIM 100 Index in 2013
By Natasha Doff
Globo Plc is the top performer on London’s FTSE AIM 100 Index this year as a surge in people bringing their own mobile phones to work increases demand for its software in markets from Asia to Latin America.
The stock has almost quadrupled this year, giving the Athens-based company a market value of 276 million pounds ($443 million). The number of bring-your-own-devices in the U.S., U.K., Germany, India, China and Brazil will climb to 405 million by 2016 from 198 million this year, according to Cisco Systems Inc., the biggest maker of computer-networking equipment.
“We expect the BYOD trend to continue to accelerate, and this gives us a very good push to offer our technologies in different countries and in different market segments,” Globo Chief Executive Officer Costis Papadimitrakopoulos said in a phone interview from Athens. “We have managed to build different offerings on this platform to attract different sizes of customers.”
Globo secured contracts this year to develop mobile-phone applications for companies including Estee Lauder Cos., Dixons Retail Plc and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz luxury-car division. First-half revenue from Globo’s Go!Enterprise product to build, deploy and manage secure mobile applications for employees’ own devices more than doubled from the previous six months to 10.2 million euros ($13.9 million), with sales in 16 countries.
The stock, which is traded in London, rose 0.3 percent to 81.25 pence as of 8:59 a.m., taking the advance to 292 percent this year.
BYOD is “a new sector,” Kostas Ntounas, an analyst at NBG Securities SA in Athens, said in an interview. BlackBerry Ltd., a traditional supplier of business smartphones, “is now falling apart and there is room for all these companies to grow going forward.”
In February, Globo signed an agreement with Ingram Micro Inc., the world’s largest technology distributer, to supply BYOD products to U.S. retailers.
“Investors are really starting to focus on the fact that international revenue is growing quite dramatically,” said Darren Freemantle, who holds 700,000 shares in Globo for the 28.9 million-pound MFM Techinvest Technology Fund. “Looking forward, it’s all about the BYOD market, where Globo has emerged as a major player.”
Globo’s total sales jumped 28 percent last year to 58.1 million euros, as Latin American revenue soared to 11.6 million euros from 2.2 million euros, and Asian sales rose 72 percent to 10.6 million euros.
Globo was founded in 1997 in Greece, where sales fell 13 percent to 20.3 million euros last year. Globo divested part of its Greek assets at the end of 2012 to focus on international clients, and retains manufacturing in the country.
The company has gained exposure to emerging-market growth through its CitronGo! and Go!Social brands, which help with access to e-mail and social networks on non-smartphones, Papadimitrakopoulos said. The systems contributed 17.9 million euros of revenue in the first half, or 56 percent of the total, and were sold in 32 counties.
Globo faces competition in the BYOD market, particularly from the U.S., where companies such as Airwatch LLC, MobileIron Inc. and Good Technology are seeking the same customers.
Globo’s share price may increase further if there’s an initial public offering of Good Technology, Ntounas said.
“Globo still trades at a discount versus comparable companies,” Ntounas said. “A Good Technology IPO will be a benchmark in terms of valuation and multiples for Globo and may cause the share price to rise.”
Good Technology was in talks with investment banks about a potential IPO, the Wall Street Journal reported in March, citing people familiar with the move. A spokeswoman for the company described talk of a stock sale as “speculation,” when contacted by Bloomberg News on Oct. 4.
At the end of last year, Globo divested 51 percent of a Greek software operation.
“One of the things that was holding the company back over the last year or two was its connection to Greece,” said Freemantle of MFM Techinvest.