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Tuesday, 21 October 2003
October 21, 2003 AirTran Holdings, Inc. (AAI)
This stock is AAI not to be confused with AAII another one of my picks! O.K., I thought I was done for the day. Actually, need to get changed and get a stress test....get on the treadmill and see what I can do to my ST segments....but that is ANOTHER story. Today, lets talk about a discount airliner.
AirTran Holdings (AAI) is having a great day and even if I would rather fly on the regular old-fashioned airlines, these discounters cannot be ignored. Currently AAI is trading at $19.56, up $1.08 or 5.84% on the day.

According to money.cnn.com, AirTran Holdings, Inc. (AAI) "...operates a low-fare scheduled airline serving short haul markets primarily in the Eastern United States." Maybe some of you can comment better on this airline, I can tell you the numbers but you may have flown on it and can give me a personal 'Peter Lynch' endorsement.

I don't see any news to explain the pop in the price but I expect it is the ANTICIPATION of earnings to be discussed in a live conference call tomorrow at 10:00 am ET. Three months ago, AAI released their second quarter results. This was the "fifth consecutive quarter of profitability" for them as reported by Business Wire on Yahoo.com. For the quarter, excluding special items, AAI earned $21.9 million or $.28/share vs $5.1 million or $.07/share in the same period in 2002. Operating revenue was $233.9 million, a 22.7% increase over second quarter operating revenues of $190.6 million.

Checking my favorite website, morningstar.com, we find that revenue has been growing steadily at least since 1998: $439.3 million in 1998, $523.5 million in 1999, $624.1 million in 2000, $665.2 million in 2001, $733.4 million in 2002 and $825.3 million in the trailing twelve months.

During the same period, earnings/share have gone from ($.63) to a profit of $.90 in a non-linear fashion. No dividend has been paid on this stock.
And by the way, I do not own any shares.

Free cash flow, while erratic, has been strongly positive recently: ($8) million in 2000, $64 million in 2001, ($8) million in 2002, and $89 million in the trailing twelve months.

The balance sheet is fairly well balanced, in my opinion, as reported on Morningstar.com, $284.5 million in cash and $110.2 million in other current assets with $213.7 million in current-liabilities and a bit rich $369.2 million in long-term liabilities. Enough cash to cover current debts...but the long-term debt, while manageable, cannot be completely ignored.

"Key Statistics" from Yahoo.com show a market cap of $1.43 billion. Trailing p/e is 20.53, PEG ratio not too bad at 1.49, and price/sales at 1.64.

There are 73.42 million shares outstanding with 66.20 million of them that float. Currently there are 6.67 million shares out short representing 4.761 trading days of volume. This is as of 9/8/03 as reported on Yahoo, and represents a slight increase from the 6.58 million shares out short the prior month.

It will be interesting to see what the earnings report brings. I suspect it will be a positive report...thus the rise in the price today...and this extends a fairly long string of improving financial reports from AAI. I am not big into airline stocks, but if you ARE and are looking for an investment in this area, this might just be a good one for you!

Some time back on this site, we listed XJT, Express Jet Holdings, and if you scan through the blog you will find the listing. That company did well subsequent to our post...even though I never personally bought any shares, darn. And this company might also be a good investment for you!

You be the judge! Thanks for stopping by. Have a great evening and if you have any questions, comments or words of encouragement, please feel free to post them right here...I think if you click on the "no comments" under each post, it will allow you to leave a comment! or if you prefer, drop me a line at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com and I will try to get right back to you.

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 2:34 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink

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