A fish farmer’s stock price has skyrocketed more than 2,500% in a year, and nobody really knows why

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  • A fish-farming group’s share price has mushroomed more than 2,500% in the past year.
  • International Holdings Co. PJSC, an Abu Dhabi-based holding company, ballooned from less than $US150 million in market capitalisation to more than $US12 billion.
  • IHC’s revenues more than doubled last year, and its net income soared 25-fold, helped by acquisitions.
  • Just 13 shareholders owned 97% of its shares at the end of December, and there were fewer than 9,600 trades of its shares last year, Bloomberg reported.
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A fish farmer’s stock price has skyrocketed more than 2,500% in the past year, and nobody really knows why.

International Holdings Co. PJSC, an Abu Dhabi-based holding company, has brushed off the coronavirus pandemic and the oil-price crash to grow its share price from below one dirham (27 cents) a year ago to about 27 dirhams ($US7.35). The surge has boosted its market capitalisation from less than $US150 million to north of $US12 billion.

As a result, IHC is the best-performing stock globally among companies with a market cap of at least $US1 billion, according to Bloomberg. It now ranks in the United Arab Emirates’ five biggest companies by market cap, rivaling First Abu Dhabi Bank and Emirates Telecom, Bloomberg said.

One reason for IHC’s outperformance could be its rapid growth. Its revenues more than doubled to $US340 million last year, and it made several acquisitions, boosting its net income more than 25-fold to $US138 million, according to its latest annual report.

IHC has also acquired or invested in a variety of companies this year, including a motorcycle-rental business, a medical-device distributor, and an owner of beauty lounges.

However, a key factor in IHC’s remarkable rally is that its shares are closely held and lightly traded. Just 13 shareholders, including an Abu Dhabi royal who serves as IHC’s chairman, controlled 97% of its shares at the end of last year, Bloomberg reported.

Moreover, there were fewer than 9,600 trades of its shares in the past 12 months, or an average of about 31 per day, Bloomberg said. By contrast, Ocado, a British retailer with a similar market capitalizatin to IHC, sees an average of about 2.8 million trades per day.