Shares of Ebix (EBIX 1.74%) gained 31.4% in March 2021, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The financial technology company, which sells software used to manage insurance, finance, and healthcare businesses, rebounded from a traumatic February drop when it picked a new auditor and announced a preliminary filing date for its belated annual report.
Ebix shares plunged 54% in the space of two days near the end of February when the expected fourth-quarter report was replaced by a guidance update and an accounting scandal. The company's official accounting firm, RSM US, resigned due to incomplete documentation for some unusual gift card transactions in India. Ebix picked KG Somani to replace RSM. The new firm is a well-respected accounting network based in New Delhi, with a five-decade history of auditing local banks and insurance companies. Share price started climbing on the news and had gained 35% a week later.
The completed fourth-quarter and annual reports are expected on or around April 20. The Street consensus calls for earnings near $0.79 per share on sales in the neighborhood of $188 million for the quarter, compared to earnings of $0.81 per share and revenue of $146 million in the year-ago quarter. It's unclear how significant the Indian gift card restatements might be.
So Ebix's March jump was more of a partial return to normalcy than a triumphant victory march. The highly volatile stock has now gained 158% in 52 weeks but it also trades 57% lower from a three-year perspective. That delayed filing should answer a lot of questions about Ebix's financial health. It just remains to be seen whether those answers are any good or not.