Allegiant Travel Company ALGT is benefiting from buoyant air-travel demand.
The company reported fourth-quarter 2022 earnings (excluding 30 cents from non-recurring items) of $3.17 per share, outperforming the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 79 cents per share. The company reported earnings of $1.18 per share a year ago. Buoyant demand for air travel and operational improvements supported the earnings uptick.
Operating revenues of $611.55 million beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $578.32 million and increased 23% on a year-over-year basis. Passenger revenues, which accounted for the bulk (92.6%) of the top line, increased by around 25% on a year-over-year basis. Upbeat air-travel demand can be correlated with such an increase.
We are also impressed by the company's efforts to modernize its fleet. The company expects to expand its fleet size to 127 at 2023-end from 121 at the end of 2022.
A glimpse at the company’s price trend reveals that the stock has had an impressive run on the bourse over the past three months. Shares of Allegiant have gained 25.6% over the past three months, outperforming the 2.2% rise of the industry it belongs to.
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On the flip side, escalating fuel costs are limiting bottom-line growth. In fourth-quarter 2022, the average fuel cost per gallon (scheduled) increased 44.8% to $3.59, in line with the guidance provided. For 2023, fuel cost per gallon is expected to be $3.60. Operating cost per available seat miles, excluding fuel, increased 7.2% year over year to 7.76 cents.
Interest expenses are expected to be in the range of $150-$160 million, up from $115.7 million in 2022. Higher interest expense also does not bode well for the company.
Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider
Currently, Allegiant carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Some better-ranked stocks from the broader Zacks Transportation sector are Alaska Air Group, Inc. ALK and American Airlines AAL, both carrying a Zacks Rank #2.
Alaska Air has an expected earnings growth rate of 32.64% for the current year. ALK delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 8.98%, on average.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ALK’s current-year earnings has improved 7.1% over the past 90 days. Shares of ALK have soared 11.1% over the past six months.
AAL has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. AAL delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 7.79%, on average.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AAL’s current-year earnings has improved 19.3% over the past 90 days. Shares of AAL have gained 19.4% over the past six months.
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