YTD Return: +53% (since May IPO)
Another digital company cashing in not just on Russia but its neighbors is Qiwi (QIWI), a leading mobile payments provider. The company is responsible for more than 11 million virtual wallets and over 165,000 kiosks in Russia and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, like the post-Soviet nations of Armenia, Belarus and more.
Qiwi came public at $17 a share in early May and was pretty quiet until June hit. Strong earnings and guidance sent the stock soaring, and it simply hasn’t stopped. Now, QIWI is up 57% from its IPO pricing.
That’s some solid momentum in another strong industry. And if you’re skeptical about Russian scams, consider this: Qiwi has partnerships with big names like Visa (V), Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and leading Russian telecom VimpelCom (VIP).
Instead, the bigger concern I have with the stock is that it has run too far too fast. QIWI is currently trading for 19 times forward earnings on 20% projected five-year growth. That’s relatively fairly valued, but hardly a screaming “buy” signal.
Of course, the fact that Qiwi is a first mover in the mobile payments space is a big deal, considering that, even here in the states, few firms have really risen to the top.