Thursday, December 31, 2015

Seeking Alpha: Alaska Air Making The Most Of Its Opportunities

I hate avoiding the shares of really good companies just because they look a little pricey, and Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) is a good example of why that is. I liked the company back in February and thought that the shares had upside into the $70s, but the stock has managed to touch the high $80s this year and sits more than 25% higher than when I wrote that last article. Since that time, Alaska Air has continued to compete very effectively - not only withstanding Delta Air Lines' (NYSE:DAL) aggressive expansion in Seattle, but also adding several new routes of its own and leveraging its cost advantages.

And now we come back to the perpetual issue with Alaska Air's shares - valuation. At a 5.5x multiple to EBITDAR, the shares are about fairly valued, while a 6x multiple (still within the bounds of normal for an airline) adds about $8/share to the fair value and bumps the undervaluation up over 10%. Looking at free cash flow, today's price seems to be pricing in mid-to-high single-digit annualized FCF growth from 2015's estimated end point, and that's pretty generous for an airline.

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Alaska Air Making The Most Of Its Opportunities

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