13 Oct 2014

Xero shares fall again

1:42 pm on 13 October 2014

Shares in Xero fell more than 7 percent in morning trading after plunging more than 11 percent last week.

The accounting software company's shares fell as low as $17.75 today, below the $18.15 per share price in last year's $180 million capital raising.

Analysts said Xero's first-half sales figures, which were released last week, showed disappointing growth in the United States.

Customer numbers in the US reached 22,000 up 4000 between March and September.

Analyst at Craigs Investment Partners Stephen Ridgewell said in order to justify Xero's still high share price, it needs to be showing good momentum in the US.

Xero has yet to make a profit and expects to post a first-half loss of about $25 million.

Mr Ridgewell said there does not appear to be any quick fixes for Xero in the US and the company is still in the process of developing a full suite of products for that market, including payroll, tax and payments.

He said the company is still building its US management team and will need to prove that its mainly direct sales strategy can work there in a market where Xero has limited brand presence.

Forsyth Barr analyst Blair Galpin said he does not expect Xero will be ready to push aggressively into the US market until the 2017 financial year and meanwhile its competition is increasing.

Another question mark for investors is whether the owners of the 9.9 million shares sold in last year's capital raising, will decide to sell, once those shares come out of escrow in three days' time.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs