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Boeing's 'Pivotal Moment': Analyst Says Company Needs New Airplane

Boeing's 'Pivotal Moment': Analyst Says Company Needs New Airplane

Boeing Co (NYSE: BA) investors got some good news recently when European regulators cleared the 737 Max for takeoff. However, one analyst says Boeing still has a number of major challenges ahead in the near-term.

The Boeing Analyst: Bank of America analyst Ronald Epstein reiterated his Neutral rating and $175 price target for Boeing.

The Boeing Thesis: Epstein said the unprecedented downturn in the aviation industry, the 737 Max problems and Boeing’s market share loss to Arbus has created a perfect storm for the company and its investors. In addition, Boeing recently terminated a $4.2 billion deal to take a stake in Brazilian aircraft producer Embraer.

“Given the prolonged grounding of the 737 MAX and the termination of ERJ deal, we view BA’s narrowbody portfolio as strategically disadvantaged vs. Airbus over the medium-term,” Epstein wrote in a note.

In fact, Epstein said Airbus is on track to expand its market share from 51% today to 57% by the mid-2020s.

Related Link: Boeing 737 Max Cleared For Takeoff After 19-Month Grounding, European Regulator Says

To combat all these difficult headwinds, Epstein said Boeing needs to bite the bullet and invest in developing a new Future Single Aisle airplane. Making the decision to invest in a new model today wouldn’t have an impact on Boeing’s financial situation for years, but Epstein said it could help change the trajectory of Boeing’s business in the long-term.

For now, the next several quarters will continue to be difficult for the company. In the third quarter, Boeing received 58 net order cancellations and removed another 141 orders from its backlog. Epstein estimates Boeing now has at least 450 737 Max planes and at least 40 787s in excess inventory representing about $20 billion in working capital.

Bank of America s projecting Boeing will burn $18.6 billion in free cash flow in 2020 and another $1.1 billion in 2021.

Benzinga’s Take: Boeing will certainly participate in any broad market recovery rally once the airline industry starts to improve. Unfortunately, the company has plenty of company-specific problems that may weigh on the stock’s performance in the long-term relative to other aerospace stocks.

Latest Ratings for BA

Nov 2020SusquehannaMaintainsPositive
Nov 2020BairdUpgradesNeutralOutperform
Nov 2020BenchmarkMaintainsBuy

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