ClickSoftware Advances on New Clients: Israel OvernightElena Popina
ClickSoftware Technologies Ltd., the Israeli company that makes computer programs used to manage workforces, rallied in New York after reporting a 59 percent surge in new customers last year.
Shares of the Petach Tikva, Israel-based company increased 7.2 percent to $9.35 last week, extending this year’s rally to 25 percent. The Bloomberg Israel-US Equity Index of the largest Israeli companies traded in New York added 0.3 percent, led by Protalix BioTherapeutics Inc. SodaStream International Ltd., the Israeli maker of home soda machines, increased 2.8 percent. Perrigo Co., a maker of generic over-the-counter medicines, had the biggest discount among dual-listed companies.
While ClickSoftware, whose biggest shareholder was Soros Fund Management LLC as of the latest filings, posted a net loss in 2013, revenue soared to a record as the company lined up 54 new clients, up from 34 in 2012. About half of the customers added in the fourth quarter were in cloud computing, which allows information to be stored online, ClickSoftware said in a Feb. 5 statement. The company forecast revenue of as much as $115 million for 2014, compared with the average of $112 million in a Bloomberg survey with analysts.
“The company has been going through a transition phase,” Shaul Eyal, a New York-based analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., wrote in an e-mail Feb. 7. “Part of the restructuring process was aimed toward positioning ClickSoftware to compete more effectively on cloud-related contracts and projects. An improved outlook and the fruition of this recent investment cycle is likely to shift the company back into profitability.”
Fourth-quarter revenue climbed 8 percent from a year earlier to $30.7 million, while quarterly cloud bookings more than doubled, according to the statement. The numbers show that the company “has turned the corner,” according to Chief Executive Officer Moshe BenBassat.
“The velocity with which we are winning cloud customers clearly proves that ClickSoftware is executing very well,” BenBassat said in a Feb. 5 conference call. “We’re in advanced stages of concluding several major contracts during the first quarter of 2014, at least two of them are major cloud wins.”
While the company’s revenue is forecast by analysts to grow 8.6 percent this year, the expansion is smaller than the 23 percent rate in 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show. In addition, ClickSoftware decided to suspend the payment of dividends to its shareholders in October.
“The revenue growth slowed dramatically, not a good sign,” Andrew S. Zamfotis, an analyst at evaDimensions LLC in New York who has a sell recommendation for the stock, said by phone Feb. 7. “The current stock price suggests that the market is pricing in a turnaround. In other words, expectations are positive. We just do not agree.”
Soros Fund Management owned a 9.9 percent stake in ClickSoftware, according to a regulatory filing as of Sept. 30. With a net worth of $22.9 billion, Soros is the 29nd-richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. An e-mail sent after regular business hours on Feb. 7 to Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros Fund Management, seeking comment on the fund’s stake in ClickSoftware, wasn’t immediately returned.
The Bloomberg Israel-US gauge rose to 109.29 last week, trimming this year’s slide to 1.8 percent. Protalix, a Carmiel, Israel-based drugmaker, surged 8.2 percent in the week to $4.60. The shares in Tel Aviv jumped 5.9 percent to 16.24 shekels, or $4.61, at the close in Tel Aviv.
Perrigo declined 6.4 percent to $145.74 after sales missed analysts estimates. The Tel Aviv-traded shares pared their premium, falling 3.6 percent to 518.20 shekels, or $147.07.
SodaStream climbed to $37.57 after Coca-Cola Co.’s decision to buy a 10 percent stake in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. bolstered bets that rival PepsiCo Inc. will pursue a deal with the Lod, Israel-based company.
PepsiCo and SodaStream spokesmen didn’t return telephone calls seeking comment on the speculation.
The announcement is “further recognition that custom carbonation is the future of the $260 billion at-home carbonated beverage industry,” SodaStream said on Feb. 6. “We are proud of the innovation we have brought to the category, and our leadership role is changing the way consumers around the world enjoy carbonated beverages today.”