Niche ASX technology company Nearmap Ltd (ASX: NEA) has endured a pretty rough time in recent months. Since climbing as high as $3.22 in late August, its share price has slid all the way back down to just $1.80 as at the time of writing.
And the bloodshed shows no signs of abating – in just this month alone, the Nearmap share price has plunged more than 15% lower. The company’s shares are now getting worryingly close to the 52-week low of $1.50 they reached all the way back in May last year.
Nearmap is an aerial imagery company that provides up-to-date high resolution images and geospatial data to its business and government clients. Nearmap gives private companies and government agencies the ability to conduct virtual site visits without ever having to physically leave their offices.
This allows people working in fields like engineering, infrastructure development, mining and construction to plan and analyse complex projects.
The most recent round of selloffs may have been sparked by Nearmap’s early May announcement that a complaint had been lodged against its American subsidiary in the US District Court in Utah. The complaint was filed on behalf of two companies, Eagle View Technologies and Pictometry International Corp, and alleges that the rooftop estimation technology used by Nearmap’s subsidiary, Nearmap US, infringes upon their copyright.
Nearmap’s announcement went to great lengths to stress that the allegations were “without merit” and didn’t relate to the company’s core proprietary technology. But the Nearmap share price still plunged on the news, dropping more than 20% on the day of the announcement.
This extended a rough period for Nearmap. Back in February the company had to defend itself against a short seller report issued by J Capital Research – the same research firm that attacked ASX darling WiseTech Global Ltd (ASX: WTC) back in October, 2019.
However, there’s no doubting that the one-two punch of the short-seller report and now these legal concerns – even if neither have any merit – have made some shareholders nervous. This is particularly true in a market where growth shares are under increased pressure due to inflation fears.
The big question for investors now is whether Nearmap shares have been oversold on the news.
Just two days prior to announcing the allegations made against its subsidiary, Nearmap had upgraded its FY21 annual contract value (ACV) guidance. Based on its strong performance over the first half of the year, the company stated that it now expected full-year ACV to be in the range of $128 million to $132 million (up from its previously issued guidance of $120 million to $128 million).
This came after the company reported strong results for the first half of FY21, driven by record incremental ACV growth in its North American portfolio. Total ACV increased by 21% over the prior comparative period to $112.2 million, while group statutory revenue jumped 18% to $54.7 million.
While some uncertainty remains around the copyright allegations made against Nearmap, the company’s own outlook for the remainder of the financial year clearly remains bullish.