Market Overview

A Travel Pair Trade: Sabre And Travelport

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A Travel Pair Trade: Sabre And Travelport

The first quarter yielded soft gross margin profits for global distribution services (GDS), but one analyst remains hopeful for an accelerated gross profit growth rate.

The Ratings

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst John King upgraded Sabre Corp (NASDAQ: SABR) to Buy and raised his price target from $18 to $29.

King downgraded Travelport Worldwide Ltd (NYSE: TVPT) to Neutral and maintained a $19 price target.

The Theses

Bank of America expects catalysts and earnings momentum to drive the discounted GDS stocks, and considering near-term conditions, Sabre is seen superior to Travelport.

“We see early signs of progress in Sabre’s technology refresh, while for Travelport strong commission inflation partially offsets upside risks from activism and momentum in payments (eNett),” King wrote in a Tuesday note.

Travelport’s eNett is outperforming amid the launch of a major customer’s private channel, but the value is negated by “underwhelming” GDS gross-margin trends driving commission inflation.

“So the strong YTD performance following the [activist] investment from Elliott suggests the story relies somewhat on activism for material further upside, in our view,” King wrote.

Meanwhile, Sabre demonstrated improved competitive positioning in the most recent quarter and converted King through its strategic shift to cloud and micro-services.

Price Action

Travelport traded down marginally to close at $17.07, while Sabre traded up 1.6 percent at $23.99.

Related Links:

Deutsche Bank: What To Expect From Online Travel Agency Earnings

Sabre Expands Relationship With Amazon's AWS, Reports Q1 Beat

Posted-In: Analyst Color Upgrades Downgrades Price Target Travel Analyst Ratings Trading Ideas General Best of Benzinga

 

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