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Tampa's Syniverse on the rise in stock universe

Buoyed by stellar first-quarter results announced Tuesday, shares of Tampa-based Syniverse Technologies rose 26.6 percent to a two-year high Wednesday, closing at $21.09 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The kudos from Wall Street began streaming in early Wednesday, propelling Syniverse shares to become the biggest gainer for the day on the New York Stock Exchange. Syniverse, whose stock ticker is SVR, provides technology and roaming settlement services to the wireless phone industry.

"We are very pleased about the stock price today and the fact that shareholders are recognizing the value in the company's stocks," said David Hitchcock, chief financial officer, in a phone interview Wednesday evening.

Analysts also joined in with at least three brokerage firms raising their target price on the shares. JPMorgan Securities upgraded the stock to overweight from neutral.

Syniverse's market performance was triggered by the company's first-quarter results and its outlook for 2008, which beat analysts' expectations.

"2008 guidance surpassed our most bullish expectations," wrote Scott Sutherland of Wedbush Morgan Securities. "Continued growth in data services and international expansion were the key revenue drivers," he said.

Revenue for the first quarter jumped 37.1 percent to $115.6-million, while net income soared 101.3 percent to $15.4-million. The company attributed its performance to strong growth in messaging, roaming volume and mobile data.

Hitchcock said the company's strength is in its services that allow the company to act as a middleman between wireless carriers such as Verizon and Sprint. Syniverse audits traffic and rates for cell phone companies when their customers roam on each other's networks.

"That's what's driving the company's growth," Hitchcock said.

Company revenue for such services touched $68.7-million in the first quarter, an 81.8 percent increase compared with first quarter of 2007. The increase included $12.8-million from BSG Wireless, the company's most recent European acquisition. Syniverse began including BSG in its income statement in January. The acquisition allowed Syniverse to spread its wings in Europe.

The company said it expects to continue its momentum through global expansion and the worldwide explosion of demand for wireless data. Syniverse said it's raising its guidance for 2008 from the $425-million to $440-million range to $455-million to $465-million.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Madhusmita Bora can be reached at mbora@sptimes.com or (813) 225-3112.

Tampa's Syniverse on the rise in stock universe 05/07/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 11:29pm]

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