EPAM: Great earnings, but a storm warning

Tom Paine

Newtown-based EPAM Systems reported its 4th quarter and full year 2021 results on Friday. 2021 revenue was $3.758 billion, up 41.3% year-over-year. GAAP Diluted EPS was $2.40, an increase of 64.4%, and Non-GAAP Diluted EPS was $2.76, an increase of 52.5% year-over-year

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of its IPO, EPAM (NYSE:EPAM) has continued its strong performance (aided by a snapback from Covid-19 delays), which has led to a current market value of $25 billion.

EPAM’s business model is built around deploying mostly Eastern European talent to deliver systems solutions primarly for Western European and US customers. EPAM operates at a higher level of strategic engagement than some other large outsourcers. and this is reflected in the more attractive margins it earns.

Arkadiy Dobkin, a Belarus native, founded EPAM in 1993.. As the company’s CEO, he has successfully guided EPAM through the political currents of Eastern Europe. But it could be tested to a greater extent this time due to current Russian threat to Ukraine. In a 2020 regulatory filing, EPAM stated that 22% of its workforce was based in Ukraine and 15% in Russia. In adddition to its workforce, EPAM also has important physical assets (such as data centers) in the two countries.

EPAM has 54,000 employees, of which only about 350 are in the greater Philadelphis area.

EPAM shares are off about 30% since last Fall. Some of that is likely due to the general tech stock malaise, but some of it is due to EPAM’s geopolitical situation.

EPAM Systems EPAM : “We too well remember 2014 and 2015 and then 2020 as well,” Arkadiy Dobkin, CEO of the software-consulting company, said Feb. 17. “In 2021, to navigate this situation, we continued something which we started actively implementing since 2014, both organic and M&A-based efforts to improve our geographic talent diversification and to do it without any degradation in the quality of our delivery.”