Why This Virgin Galactic Analyst Just Cut Their Price Target By Nearly 40%


Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc SPCE shares have come crashing back to Earth since the company successfully completed a Unity 22 space flight back in July, and one analyst said Friday the stock will likely continue to struggle in the near-term.

The Virgin Galactic Analyst: Bank of America analyst Ronald Epstein reiterated an Underperform rating on Virgin Galactic and cut the price target from $41 to $25.

Related Link: Why It's Still 'Too Early To Bottom Fish' In Virgin Galactic Stock

The Virgin Galactic Takeaways: In his new note, Epstein said he was surprised and somewhat confused by Virgin’s recent announcement that it will begin planned maintenance plus enhancement for Mothership Eve in September after receiving a recommendation for the enhancements in July.

The planned improvements, which Virgin did not detail, will bump back the timeline for the company’s first commercial passenger flight from early 2022 to late in the third quarter of 2022.

Epstein said it was particularly surprising that Virgin didn’t provide any technical details about the planned improvements and said the enhancements are still in the design phase.

For now, Epstein said he expects Virgin to focus on sub-orbital travel, which will bump back orbital travel further into the future. Epstein has pushed back his target date for Virgin orbital travel from 2028 to 2035 and is removing his 2035 target for high speed point-to-point travel.

In terms of upcoming stock catalysts, Epstein said the October 2021 lock-up expirations could pressure Virgin’s stock.

“We see short term downside pressure to the stock price as a) delayed commercialization results in lack of catalysts, b) the market stays attentive to the next equity raise, and c) the next lock-up period expires,” Epstein said.

Benzinga’s Take: With Virgin generating a $644-million net loss on less than $300,000 in revenue in 2020, any delays in the path to a commercial launch are understandably concerning for investors.

If Epstein’s new targets are correct, it also appears that at least the next 14 years will be all about sub-orbital travel for Virgin.

Photo: a Virgin Galactic spaceship.

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Posted In: Analyst ColorPrice TargetReiterationAnalyst RatingsBofA SecuritiesRonald EpsteinSpace Travel
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