Acquisitions Diversifying Revenue Streams to include Advertising and Travel/Hotel Verticals
NEW YORK, NY - (NewMediaWire) - May 16, 2023 - Maxim Group LLC (“Maxim”) issues research report on Society Pass Inc. (Nasdaq: SOPA) (“SoPa”), Southeast Asia’s (SEA) next generation, data-driven, loyalty, fintech and e-commerce ecosystem.
• Maxim maintains 2023 and 2024 revenue and EBITDA estimates – SOPA reports improving topline and narrowing losses going forward. Maxim maintains its estimates, which incorporate growing revenues and expense discipline. Maxim expects loyalty points to launch in June 2023, and full year contributions from all announced acquisitions. Maxim has not modeled any contributions from any acquisitions that have not yet been announced or closed; however, it is likely that management will continue to opportunistically acquire companies in their verticals of focus. Maxim also believes many of the businesses can be expanded geographically.
• Healthy balance sheet and strong cash position – SOPA has $13.8M in unrestricted cash (representing >1/2 of the company's market cap) and no debt. Maxim does not expect SoPa to raise any capital through 2024 as management has significantly reduced cash burn and has been very disciplined with the amount of cash used in acquisitions.
• Revenues growing much faster than cash expenses – 1Q23 revenues of $2.0M increased significantly from $0.4M in the prior year quarter. Digital advertising accounted for 63% of quarterly revenue at $1.3M, followed by NusaTrip online ticketing and reservation at $0.5M and Leflair at $0.3M. 1Q23 adjusted EBITDA loss of ($2.7M) was slightly narrower than our estimate of ($2.8M) and improved from a loss of ($3.4M) in the prior year quarter. The company has restructured several of its businesses to improve revenue and profitability. Cash operating expense y/y growth rate of 20% compares favourably to revenue growth of 359%.
• Expanding ecosystem – As of 11 May 2023, the company had over 3.3M registered customers and 650K merchants and brands on their platform.
• Diversification – Starting with just F&B and lifestyle in 2022, SOPA has significantly diversified its businesses and now operates 6 verticals. It also expanded to 5 countries: Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. Maxim believes there are significant cross-selling opportunities going forward. Specifically, Maxim believes Thoughtful Media can market SOPA's other brands. Maxim has a positive view on the SE Asian market due to increasing mobile and ecommerce penetration, younger populations, travel coming back, and the opportunity to consolidate smaller companies.
• Outlook – Maxim projects revenues to increase from $5.6M in 2022 to $15.0M in 2023E with an adjusted EBITDA loss of ($7.7M), dramatically narrowing from ($19.0M) in 2022. Maxim’s projection for narrower EBITDA losses in 2023 vs 2022 is due to cost-cutting and higher margins from mix shift and launch of loyalty, online travel, and social media segments. For 2024, Maxim projects revenues of $25.1M, up 67% y/y and an adjusted EBITDA loss of ($0.9M). Maxim projects adjusted EBITDA turning profitable in 4Q24. Maxim’s projections do not include any unannounced acquisitions. Given the strong cash position, future M&A potentially provides upside to Maxim’s estimates.
• Society Pass is in the early stages of building an SEA e-commerce company with six verticals:
1) Lifestyle. Leflair provides luxury goods online in Vietnam. Sales from online ordering were $0.3M in 1Q23, down 41% y/y. Maxim anticipates management will focus on expanding geographically and in other retail categories in 2023. The company also changed the app and platform in February 2023 to improve customer experience and potential sales.
2) Digital Advertising. Thoughtful Media Group is a Thailand-based social media company acquired in July 2022. Business has been expanded to Vietnam and Indonesia. Digital advertising should have relatively higher margins among SOPA's other segments, in part due to lower labor costs. In October 2022, Thoughtful Media signed a partnership with Onlive.site, a live-streaming and digital content channel platform based in Spain. Onlive's technology allows livestreaming, live video shopping, interactive video and online TV channel platform tools. The company acquired More Media, an Indonesia based digital design and branding agency. Revenue in this segment was $1.3M for 1Q23.
3) Online Travel. NusaTrip is an Indonesia-based online travel and hotel provider acquired in August '22. Strategically, Maxim expects SOPA to focus on increasing hotel sales, which have higher margins than airplane tickets. Maxim views Online Travel as one of the areas of key focus for growth both organically and through M&A. In February 2023, a partnership was announced with LuxUrban (LUXH - Buy) to drive SE Asian traffic to LuxUrban's US based hotels. Also in February 2023, NusaTrip signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with PT. Kerata Cepat Indonesia-China (KCIC) to be the preferred online ticket sales partner for Kereta Cepat Jakarta-Bandung (KCJB), the first fast train service between Jakarta and Bandung in Indonesia. Revenue was $0.5M for 1Q23.
4) Telecom. Gorilla is a Singapore-based blockchain telecom offering local and travel e-SIM services that was acquired June 2022. This is a relatively small contributor to SOPA revenue, but provides blockchain and Web 3.0 technology that can be expanded to other areas, such as social media interactions on websites and payments.
6) Loyalty. The loyalty platform was soft launched in June 2022 with a hard launch across all verticals targeted for June 2023. Stripe, a digital wallet, is a partner for payments. While adoption is not certain, we expect Loyalty to be the higher margin of SOPA's verticals.
• Compelling valuation – reiterate Buy and $2.75 price target. SOPA trades at an EV/revenue multiple of 0.3x our 2024 revenue estimate vs. the peer average of 2.2x. Our $2.75 price target is based on our 10-year DCF analysis, which utilizes a 22% discount rate, 13x terminal multiple, and 3% terminal growth rate. This equates to an EV/revenue multiple of 2.0x. A discount to the peer average is warranted, in our view due to SOPA's smaller size and acquisition integration risk. Our positive outlook is supported by the attractive SE Asian markets and opportunities to consolidate smaller companies.
About Society Pass Inc.
Founded in 2018 as a data-driven loyalty, fintech and e-commerce ecosystem in the fast-growing markets of Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, which account for more than 80% of the SEA population, and with offices located in Angeles, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Manila, and Singapore, Society Pass Incorporated (Nasdaq: SOPA) is an acquisition-focused holding company operating 6 interconnected verticals (loyalty, digital media, travel, telecoms, lifestyle, and F&B), which seamlessly connects millions of registered consumers and hundreds of thousands of registered merchants/brands across multiple product and service categories throughout SEA.
Society Pass completed an initial public offering and began trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker SOPA in November 2021. SOPA shares were added to the Russell 2000 index in December 2021.
SoPa acquires fast growing e-commerce companies and expands its user base across a robust product and service ecosystem. SoPa integrates these complementary businesses through its signature Society Pass fintech platform and circulation of its universal loyalty points or Society Points, which has entered beta testing and is expected to launch broadly at the beginning of 2023. Society Pass loyalty program members earn and redeem Society Points and receive personalised promotions based on SoPa’s data capabilities and understanding of consumer shopping behaviour. SoPa has amassed more than 3.3 million registered consumers and over 650,000 registered merchants and brands. It has invested 2+ years building proprietary IT architecture to effectively scale and support its consumers, merchants, and acquisitions.
Society Pass leverages technology to tailor a more personalised experience for customers in the purchase journey and to transform the entire retail value chain in SEA. SoPa operates Thoughtful Media Group, a Thailand-based, a social commerce-focused, premium digital video multi-platform network; NusaTrip, a leading Indonesia-based Online Travel Agency; VLeisure, Vietnam’s leading provider of hotel management and payment solutions; Gorilla Networks, a Singapore-based, web3-enabled mobile blockchain network operator; Leflair.com, Vietnam’s leading lifestyle e-commerce platform; Pushkart.ph, a popular grocery delivery company in Philippines; and Mangan.ph, a leading local restaurant delivery service in Philippines.
For more information on Society Pass, please visit:
Website at https://www.thesocietypass.com or
LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/societypass or
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thesocietypass or
Twitter at https://twitter.com/society_pass or
Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/societypass/.
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Chief Marketing Officer