Is Qantas worth $4.65 per share?
We examine why UBS remains bullish on Australia's premier airline, Qantas.
Qantas share price rises, Virgin sale process progresses
The Qantas (QAN) share price has rallied strongly this week, as equity markets trend bullishly and with the company on Thursday announcing that it would be significantly increasing its domestic and regional flying capacity between June and July.
Specifically, the airline said that these ‘additional services will see capacity increase from 5 per cent of pre-Coronavirus levels, to 15 per cent by the end of June. This equates to more than 300 more return flights per week.’
Further out, by the end of July, Qantas expects its domestic flying capacity to be at 40% of pre-coronavirus levels.
Investors responded bullishly to this news on Thursday, bidding the stock 7.16% higher during the day. Qantas continued to be bid higher on Friday, last trading up 3.18% – to $4.630 per share.
Reflecting on the current enviroment, the Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, said:
‘We know there is a lot of pent up demand for air travel and we are already seeing a big increase in customers booking and planning flights in the weeks and months ahead.’
Other industry developments
Elsewhere, Virgin Australia this week further narrowed its short-list of potential buyers to Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners, with administrators saying they expect to have a binding agreement for the sale of Virgin Australia by 30 June.
As part of Virgin’s latest announcement, the company’s administrators stressed that 'we are in a strong place when it comes to delivering the best possible commercial outcome for all creditors, and to see a strong and sustainable Virgin Australia emerge from this process.'
In response to this progress, UBS analysts noted that ‘In our view, a LCC [low cost carrier] only offering or an outcome where the new carrier doesn't materially change things would both be positive for Qantas.’
Moreover, while the investment bank flagged that 'irrational behaviour from a second carrier is possible, Qantas has bought unit costs down materially since 2014 and can leverage its scale and loyalty program making this an unlikely strategy in our view.'
Irrational behaviour or not, with UBS analysts confident in the pent up demand for air travel, the investment bank has retained its positive outlook on the blue-chip airline, retaining a Buy rating and a 12-month price target of $4.65 on Qantas.
In step with the airline’s reduced business activity as a result of Covid-19, UBS is currently expecting Qantas' FY20 revenue to come in at $12,447 million (FY19 revenue: $17,966 million), against a FY20e net loss of $1,001 million (for reference, in FY19 QAN delivered net earnings of $899 million).
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