Why the WiseTech Global Ltd share price has soared 27%

Shares of the freshly-listed WiseTech Global Ltd (ASX: WTC) have been on fire recently and even surged to a new record high during Tuesday’s session.

The logistics services industry is growing more and more complex as a result of increasing global trade flows and the prevalence of shipments of small parcels. This is largely due to the growing importance of ecommerce and m-commerce (transactions conducted over the internet via mobile phones). The increased use of just-in-time manufacturing has played a role as well, together with the greater sourcing of raw materials as companies look to improve their operating efficiencies.

WiseTech Global demonstrated the complexity of the industry in its prospectus to shareholders, by showing how many times a single good can be handled between two countries from a manufacturer to the end customer. This can be seen below:

Source: WiseTech Global prospectus

Source: WiseTech Global prospectus

WiseTech Global has developed a software platform, known as CargoWise One, which is intended to remove some of the complexity from this process. It can make the process far more efficient (and less costly) by allowing logistics service providers around the world to facilitate the movement and storage of goods and information all on one platform, which also removes the clutter created by excessive paperwork.

Better yet, the platform also contains industry-specific software modules as well as enterprise-wide modules designed to assist customers in managing their businesses, including accounting and human capital management.

A look at the company’s incredibly low attrition rates indicates that customers are very satisfied by CargoWise One. While it considers its software to be ‘mission-critical’, attrition rates have averaged just 0.4% over the last three years (in other words, there is a 99.6% retention rate for CargoWise One customers) which suggests a very reliable income stream.

WiseTech Global has only been listed on the ASX since April this year with an offer price of $3.35. The shares were trading at $4.05 in the middle of June but have since rocketed nearly 27% to $5.14. They did hit a high of $5.18 during yesterday’s session.

It’s possible that an announcement from the company late last week may have played a role in boosting the share price. The company has relied on acquisitions in the past to help boost growth, and that trend continued with the increase in strategic holding of SoftShip AG to 43% – up from 19.9% previously.

SoftShip AG is German domiciled and is a leading provider of logistics software solutions to the global sea-freight industry with a significant European customer base. Notably, this acquisition will not have an impact on WiseTech’s full-year 2016 results which will be announced next month.

Should you buy WiseTech Global?

It should be noted that WiseTech Global’s shares aren’t necessarily cheap today. In fact, with a market value of almost $1.5 billion, the shares are trading on a multiple of roughly 114x forecast pro forma earnings for FY16, and almost 60x forecast pro forma earnings for FY17.

However, the company’s top-line is expected to continue growing strongly over the coming years, with earnings expected to grow at an even stronger pace. Considering the growing complexity of the logistics services industry, CargoWise One’s incredible customer retention rates and WiseTech Global’s commitment to stay ahead of the competition it could still be a reasonable option for long-term investors.

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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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