4. Allegiant Travel (ALGT) is a regional air carrier, flying passengers from smaller cities that have little service from other airlines, to leisure destinations including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Ariz., and Orlando, Fla. The company is headquartered in Las Vegas and the stock is rated a B-plus (Good) by TheStreet Ratings.
First-quarter net income was $22.6 million, or $1.12 per share, down from $28.2 million, or $1.37 per share, during the first quarter of 2009. The company blamed a 72% increase in fuel costs for the decline in earnings.
Allegiant paid a special one-time dividend of 75 cents a share on June 2. The company does not regularly pay dividends.According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Glenn Engel, whose firm reinstated coverage of Allegiant's stock on June 2, Allegiant has "the lowest unit costs among airlines," more than 20% lower than AirTran Holdings (AAI) and Southwest Airlines (LUV.). Allegiant keeps costs low by flying older planes than most other carriers, and also is described by Engel as an "early unbundler," generating "more fees per passenger than any other airline." Although the company has remained profitable with industry-leading margins in such challenging economic conditions, Engel is neutral on the shares, citing "above average oil sensitivity" and risks associated with expansion. His twelve-month target for the Allegiant's shares is $58, or 16% above Friday's closing price of $50.