Qiwi Stock Goes Sour, Drops 19%

The company may be subject to tougher regulations

Qiwi (QIWI), which operates a payments network in Russia, may get hit with some new regulations on cross-border payments, which could weigh on revenues. On the news, Qiwi stock is off by 19%, dropping below $44 in today’s trading.

The company actually went public back in May at $17 per share. It has been a solid performer, as seen with its earnings reports, and has been able to pushback on rivals like eBay (EBAY) and Yandex (YNDX). Yet potential regulations have always been a nagging issue.

Consider this from the company’s IPO filing:

“Many of these laws and regulations are constantly evolving, and are often unclear and inconsistent with other applicable laws and regulations, including across various jurisdictions, making compliance challenging and increasing our related operating costs and legal risks. In particular, there has been increased public attention and heightened legislation and regulations regarding money laundering and terrorist financing.”

And yes, the latest proposed regulation out of Russia is meant to deal with terrorism. As seen with some of the latest bombings, this should not be a surprise reaction. Besides, Russia wants to make sure the upcoming Winter Olympics are safe.

QIWI has a strong platform, which processes payments across mobile and online sources. There are also 169,000 kiosks and terminals as well as agreements with more than 40,000 merchants. In fact, on a monthly basis, more than 60 million consumers use the service. In light of this, it’s easy to see how QIWI stock has had a huge run.

While all this is good, the fact remains that the potential regulations are pretty vague, yet the potential moves in the stock could be severe.  And as we’ve seen over the years, Russian stocks can often be hit hard by government actions.

So while QIWI stock certainly looks more attractive now — with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 27 and a 2.5% dividend yield — there could still be downside risk. So for now, it may be best to avoid the stock.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook. He is also the author of High-Profit IPO StrategiesAll About Commodities and All About Short Selling. Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.


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