Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SpiceJet’s turnaround story: From forced grounding to world's top airline stock in 2 years

Two and a half years after SpiceJet Ltd. was forced to ground its entire fleet on its inability to pay a mere $2.2 million in fuel bills, the budget airline has become the world’s best-performing airline stock -- with $26 billion in plane orders to boot.

The company’s co-founder and Chairman Ajay Singh has played the white knight, injecting capital, cutting loss-making routes and aggressively adding capacity in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. To top it all off, crude prices are staying low.

For investors, that’s been a winning formula: SpiceJet shares are the best performers on a Bloomberg Intelligence index of airline stocks this year. The stock is up 124 per cent in 2017 and has gained more than 800 per cent since the company’s near-demise in December 2014, giving SpiceJet a market value of $1.2 billion.

The outlook for aviation stocks looks good “as long as oil prices are under control,” said Mahesh Patil, co-chief investment officer of Birla Sun Life Asset Management Co., which has $30 billion in assets. Birla held a stake of about 1.2 per cent in SpiceJet as of May 31, according to Bloomberg data.

More people will prefer to travel by plane as ticket prices fall, Patil said, declining to comment specifically on the carrier.
27/06/17 Anurag Kotoky/Santanu Chakraborty /Bloomberg/Economic Times

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