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This Math Says Spirit Airlines Has 44% Upside

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In a new report, Buckingham analyst Daniel McKenzie discusses the firm’s bullish outlook for Spirit Airlines Incorporated (NASDAQ: SAVE). According to McKenzie, the airliner’s “very good” Q1 is no fluke. After meeting with company management, Buckingham is convinced that the strong showing is an indication that the company’s new business approach is working.

“The punch line: Spirit is shifting its flying into markets ‘outperforming’ on pricing (away from underperforming markets) which makes 1Q16 results an engineered outcome (as opposed to a quarterly fluke),” McKenzie explains.

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He notes the key to outperformance for Spirit will be new CEO BOB Fornaro’s initiative to streamline the company’s routes and operations. McKenzie notes that about 80 percent of Spirit’s network is comprised of once-a-day flights, which are complex and expensive to maintain. One of the first steps under Fornaro’s plan will be to dial back utilization slightly this summer.

Buckingham has raised its price target for Spirit from $66 to $68 based on a 15x multiple on 2017 EPS estimates. This multiple is a premium to larger carriers, but McKenzie believes it is justified due to Spirit’s strong growth prospects and low-cost advantage.

Buckingham rates Spirit stock a Buy and sees only 11 percent risk to the downside with as much as 55 percent risk to the upside.

Disclosure: the author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.

Latest Ratings for SAVE

DateFirmActionFromTo
Jan 2021SusquehannaMaintainsNeutral
Dec 2020JP MorganDowngradesOverweightUnderweight
Dec 2020Deutsche bankDowngradesBuyHold

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