Halogen Software Said to Hire Bankers for Potential Sale

Updated on
  • Ottawa software company’s value has dropped to $130 million
  • Company recently warned of declining sales growth in sector

Halogen Software Inc., whose shares have plunged by half since 2013, hired advisers to explore strategic alternatives, including a potential sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Ottawa-based human-resources software company hired National Bank Financial to advise on the process, said the people who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Halogen had a market value of C$171 million ($130 million) at the close of trading Wednesday in Toronto.

Halogen rose as much as 8.7 percent to C$8.70 by 9:52 a.m. in Toronto on Thursday, the biggest intraday gain since March.

Representatives for Halogen weren’t available for comment and National Bank declined to comment.

Halogen had been under pressure in recent years as it faced increased competition. The stock is below its initial public offering price of C$11.50 in May of 2013 and its peak of C$16.07 in June that year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The company has embarked on a new push for profitability and improved cash flow under Chief Executive Officer Les Rechan, who was appointed in November 2015, according to Robert Young, an analyst with Toronto-based Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. The company recently increased its earnings guidance for the current fiscal year, saying it expected margins of 10 percent rather than 6 percent, and that it was targeting between 11 percent and 13 percent in 2017, he noted.

At the same time, the company warned it expected revenue growth in the "mid-single digits," down from about 10 percent this fiscal year, he said.

"Increased churn in a large and under-penetrated but more competitive market is the culprit," Young said in a recent note to clients. "While we have confidence in the management team and believe the company has prudently increased its focus on profitability to offset the top-line weakness, we expect this to leave Halogen in the midst of a transition year in 2017."

Halogen provides cloud-based human-resources software for companies with between 100 and 10,000 employees and has more than 2,100 customers worldwide, according to its website.

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