‘Duit raya’ comes early for Dataprep; a truly rags-to-riches stock for 2021

DATAPREP Holdings Bhd has indeed journeyed through roads less travelled.

While the company’s meteoric rise maybe baffling,  its more gravity-defying achievement is how the information communications technology (ICT) firm is able to emerge unscathed from the claws of the market regulator.

On March 1, Bursa Malaysia issued Dataprep an unusual market activity (UMA) query as its share price rallied to dizzying heights post the Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays.

But the UMA query has little effect to quell interest in the stock, prompting the market regulator to issue a stern caution to investors on March 10, effectively ‘red-carding’ the stock after its price skyrocketed by leaps and bounds from a mere 16.5 sen on the eve of CNY (Feb 11) to end at RM3.15 (intraday high: RM3.33).

But Bursa’s ‘chill pill’ only managed to work its magic for one day – the following day or March 11 – when Dataprep’s stock price edged down 27 sen or 8.57% to RM2.88.

On March 12, the buying frenzy resumed but this time around, Dataprep was well-prepared to hold its ground in the event of ‘further assault’ from the market regulator.

In a Bursa filing that day, the company announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Dataprep (M) Sdn Bhd has entered into a memorandum of collaboration with Asia Coding Centre Sdn Bhd with both parties working as strategic partners r to undertake a project in relation to providing an integrated solution technology for COVID-19 screening for the Health Ministry (MOH).

Aside from revealing that the three-year project would come into effect from March 12, the company made no mention of the project’s value, percentage of stakeholding or how the partners expect to get paid for the services rendered.

But this is suffice for Dataprep to bulldoze forward – effectively to break yet another all-time high of RM3.95 at the early stage of today’s afternoon trading session. At the close of today’s trading, the counter was up 63 sen or 19.94% at RM3.79 with 44.85 million shares traded, thus boosting its market capitalisation considerably to RM2.31 bil.

Also hitching a ride from Dataprep’s price surge is its sister company Widad Group Bhd, which rose 17.5 sen or 34.65% to 68 sen with 392.78 million shares traded, thus making the counter the second most active counter as of 4.40pm.

A darling among retail investors during its heydays, Dataprep which was listed in 1991 had earned the distinction of being the first Malaysian information communications technology (ICT) company to be listed on the local bourse

In the quest to restore interest in the stock, the company’s new management has set its sight on long-term growth potentials, primarily by capitalising on several promising areas under the robustly-growing Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4).

For the record, Bumiputera-owned Widad Business Group Sdn Bhd (WBG) acquired the entire 64.2% stake belonging to Dataprep’s major shareholder VXL Holdings Sdn Bhd via its subsidiary Wardah Communication Sdn Bhd in July 2017.

This triggered a mandatory general offer which subsequently raised WBG’s stake in Dataprep marginally to 64.4%.

For its 9M FY2020, Dataprep extended its net loss to RM6.76 mil from RM3.64 mil in the same period a year ago although its revenue was slightly higher at RM23.63 mil (9M FY2019: RM21.07 mil). – March 15, 2021

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