It’s been a year of ups and downs.
What started as a small viral infection in a remote area in China has morphed into a global pandemic.
Stock markets tanked sharply in March as the rapid spread of the virus overwhelmed many countries’ health systems.
As the human race learnt more about the coronavirus called COVID-19, we also learnt how to tackle the situation better.
For most businesses, it’s been a tough 11 months as demand has been sharply curtailed as governments impose border closures, lockdowns and movement control restrictions.
However, some businesses have benefited from the onset of the pandemic and have gone on to post strong growth.
We are pleased to present the five best-performing stocks of 2020.
Note: Share prices have been compiled as of 30 November 2020, and gains are inclusive of dividends.
1. Medtecs International Corporation (SGX: 546)
The winner for 2020, with a gain of around 2,800%, is Medtecs International.
From the start of the year till the end of November, the company’s share price went from S$0.037 to S$1.07 as the manufacturer of personal protective equipment (PPE) saw its sales go through the roof as the pandemic hit home.
As a recap, Medtecs manufacturers a wide range of PPE, medical supplies and consumables.
The group employs around 7,500 employees and exports its products to 30 countries.
For the first nine months of 2020, revenue increased more than five-fold to US$287.2 million.
Net profit for the period surged nearly 20-fold from US$426,000 to US$84.6 million.
2. UG Healthcare Corporation Ltd (SGX: 8K7)
The rubber gloves sector has also seen strong demand for its products as hospitals and clinics ramped up their demand for gloves in response to the pandemic.
UG Healthcare is a rubber glove manufacturer that sells disposable gloves under its own “Unigloves” brand.
For the year to date up till the end of November, its share price has risen by 1,382% from S$0.0467 to S$0.69 as demand exploded for nitrile gloves for the healthcare sector.
For the fiscal year ended 30 June 2020, UG Healthcare saw a 57.2% year on year jump in revenue to S$144.2 million, while net profit jumped almost 500% to S$13.4 million.
The company’s growth has continued in the second half of the year.
In its latest quarter, revenue more than doubled to S$71.2 million while net profit hit S$22.7 million, for a net margin of close to 32%, significantly higher than the prior year’s net profit margin of just 1.2%.
3. iFAST Corporation Limited (SGX: AIY)
iFAST Corporation Limited is a financial technology company with a platform that allows users to buy and sell unit trusts, equities and bonds.
The group’s share price has soared from S$1.04 at the start of the year to around S$3.63 at the end of November, for a total return of 257%, including dividends reinvested.
The pandemic had spurred many young investors to open new brokerage accounts to trade online, resulting in a strong inflow of funds for iFAST that helped to boost its assets under administration (AUA) to record levels.
For the first nine months of 2020, net revenue increased by 27.5% year on year to S$61.5 million.
Profit attributable to shareholders more than doubled from S$6.5 million to over S$14 million over the same period.
The group was among the applicants for a Singapore digital bank wholesale licence but was not successful. Shares have come down to S$2.93 as of last Friday.
4. Riverstone Holdings Ltd (SGX: AP4)
Yet another rubber glove manufacturer chalked up an impressive year to date gain.
Shares of Riverstone Holdings surged from S$0.4625 (adjusted for the 1-for-1 bonus share issue announced in August) to S$1.31 at the end of November, for a total gain of around 187%.
The group benefited from a sharp global increase in demand for healthcare gloves that also saw an increase in average selling price.
At the same time, Riverstone’s cleanroom glove division experienced healthy volume and selling price growth resulting from higher demand from the semiconductor industry.
For its third quarter, revenue surged by 92% year on year and net profit jumped five-fold from RM 35.6 million to RM 178.6 million.
Cash and equivalents more than tripled from RM 130 million to RM 427.3 million.
5. AEM Holdings Ltd (SGX: AWX)
AEM is a system test and handling solutions business that serves the advanced computing, 5G and artificial intelligence industries.
The boom in these sectors has resulted in a surge in demand for AEM’s products and services, resulting in its share price surging from S$2.02 to S$3.55 from the start of the year till the end of November.
Inclusive of dividends, the group’s shares have delivered a total return of 80%.
For the first nine months of this year, AEM’s revenue jumped by 85.7% year on year to S$435.5 million.
Net profit more than doubled year on year from S$36 million to S$79.6 million.
The group has raised its revenue guidance for the full fiscal year 2020 to between S$500 million to S$520 million.
All four of AEM’s business segments experienced year on year growth, while the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics projects that annual global sales of semiconductors are expected to increase by 6.2% in 2021.
This rise should bode well for AEM’s business and continue to generate strong demand for its business.
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Disclaimer: Royston Yang owns shares in iFAST Corporation Limited.