Trading frenzy precedes Xero report

More than $50 million of shares in Xero were traded on Wednesday and Thursday, the days leading up to the market darling's announcement to the NZX yesterday.

Brokers contacted said the ''average day'' for Xero trading had been about $10 million. About $31 million of shares were traded on Wednesday and about $21 million on Thursday.

The shares fell from a high of $44 during the middle of last week to close on Thursday night at $37, a drop of nearly 16%.

Xero continued its stellar rise in all measures except profit in the year ended March 31. The unaudited figures show Xero more than doubled its loss to $35 million in the period, compared to a loss of $14.4 million in the previous corresponding period.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said that meant an ''absolute zero chance'' of any dividend for the investors, including those who bought back into the shares yesterday.

Mr Timms acknowledged there was a lot of movement in the shares leading up to the announcement and a substantial increase in volume.

There were four pieces of research out on Xero, with three sells and one buy, with an average share target price of $30.

''This is a growth company and they have a fantastic front person in Rod Drury for the business. And while is this fantastic, in the end you have to convert the revenue into profitability at some stage.''

Investors would look at the top-line growth and be hoping for more growth in the coming year, Mr Timms said.

Operating revenue for Xero was up 83% for the year to $70.1 million.

With monthly committed subscriptions growing to $7.8 million, the recurring revenue model meant Xero started the 2015 financial year strongly with $93 million in annualised subscriptions, up 81% on the pcp, Mr Drury said.

The strong New Zealand dollar hurt reported operating revenue, given 66% of the revenue was denominated on foreign currencies. Staff numbers in the year nearly doubled to 758 from 382 and cash on hand grew to $210 million from $78 million in the pcp.

Xero was a leading accounting software provider in New Zealand and one of the leading online accounting software providers in Australia and the United Kingdom, he said.

''With strong growth expected to continue in these markets, Xero turns its focus on the important US market.''

The US market entry phase was completed successfully, allowing Xero to raise an additional $180 million of capital in October 2013, bolstering the board with the appointments of New York-based Chris Liddell as chairman and San Francisco-based director Bill Veght, and appointing Peter Karpas as chief executive North America, Mr Drury said.

Goldman Sachs started its coverage of Xero with a sell recommendation. Previously only two broking firms had offered research on the company but its move into the NZX10 and a range of international indices meant there would be a more demand for information on its stock.

Goldman analyst Robbie Aitken said in a note while his company acknowledged Xero's strong growth prospects and product quality, investors were paying for significant delivery in end markets.

''Previously, Xero provided a less expensive option to play the growth in cloud accounting software, but at current levels given, we believe investors are already paying over the odds.''

Mr Aitken put a valuation on the stock of $32.23 a share.

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