Why the Aconex Limited share price is flying today

Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Aconex Limited (ASX: ACX) has announced a new four-year enterprise agreement with ExxonMobil Global Services Company. ExxonMobil trades on the New York Stock Exchange as ‘XOM’ and is the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company in the world.

Aconex’s CEO Leigh Jasper noted that the company has already helped ExxonMobil deliver large, complex projects in multiple regions over the years. The fact that ExxonMobil has now signed on for an extended period of time speaks volume for Aconex and its construction collaboration platform.

Aconex said: “This is a strategic win with significant implications for us in the oil and gas industry.”

Under the agreement, all ExxonMobil companies and affiliates will be able to use Aconex’s platform with the ability to increase usage as new projects and users are added.

Aconex’s shares have risen 4.4% so far to trade at $7.32.

What does Aconex do?

Aconex is a business that provides a cloud-based platform for the global construction industry. It enables organisations and users to collaborate with one another during the lifetime of construction processes – from planning to delivery and operations. This helps to improve efficiency and remove clutter and hassle.

The company delivers this via a subscription model, which results in a large portion of revenues being recurring. It has also managed to significantly expand its business internationally, with 56.1% of total group revenue in financial year 2015 (a total of $82.4 million) coming from international segments compared to just 49.2% in financial year 2012 (a total of $44.3 million).

Indeed, Aconex only listed its shares on the ASX in 2014 with an offer price of $1.90 and has since surged 285% to $7.32.

Is Aconex a buy?

While price targets from both Credit Suisse and UBS indicate the shares are trading around their estimate of fair value today (with targets of $7.10 and $7.20, respectively), Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets both suggest there is plenty more gas in the tank for even greater gains.

According to Dow Jones Newswires this morning, analysts from RBC Capital Markets have slapped an $8.50 price target on the shares. Morgan Stanley believes they will go even higher after raising its own price target to a whopping $10 per share just a fortnight ago.

In saying that, the company’s shares are not cheap and investors do need to be careful to not overpay.

Aconex generated $5.3 million in net profit after tax (NPAT) during the first-half of financial year 2016, giving it an annualised profit of $10.6 million. Notably, the company is likely to exceed that target for the year and is likely to grow that strongly over the coming years, but it is still somewhat small by comparison to the company’s market value of around $1.17 billion.

While Aconex’s shares could continue to rise from here, there may be other alternatives that investors should consider buying first, such as fellow software-as-a-service (SaaS) business WiseTech Global Ltd (ASX: WTC).

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The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of ExxonMobil. Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman owns shares of WiseTech Global. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of WiseTech Global. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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