Should I be buying IAG shares today?

Since IAG reported its H1 results, its share price has been stagnant. So, should I buy its stock now to capitalise on a potential rebound?

| More on:

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

Jumbo jet preparing to take off on a runway at sunset

Image source: Getty Images

When investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in.

Read More

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, any form of personal advice. Investments in a currency other than sterling are exposed to currency exchange risk. Currency exchange rates are constantly changing, which may affect the value of the investment in sterling terms. You could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, and may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection as in the UK.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More.

Since I last wrote about British Airways owner IAG (LSE: IAG), the share price has seen an 11% recovery. After a generally positive set of H1 results, I could be tempted into buying the shares in order to capitalise on the potential upside.

IAG shows promise

IAG followed through on its Q1 guidance of achieving profitability in the second quarter. Q2 was, in fact, the group’s first profitable quarter since the start of the pandemic, with an adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of 2.5c.

MetricsH1 2022H1 2021Change
Total revenue€9.35bn€1.14bn720%
Operating profit-€438m-€2.04bn79%
Adjusted EPS-13.8c-43.7c68%
Net debt€10.98bn€11.67bn-6%
Net cash€9.19bn€7.94bn16%
Source: IAG H1 earnings report

It was also pleasing to see revenue per available seat kilometres (ASK) and passenger numbers edge closer to pre-pandemic levels. Aside from that, IAG managed to improve its financial position slightly, reducing its debt by €688m, while receiving positive free cash flow.

MetricsH1 2022H1 2019Percentage of 2019 Levels
ASK118m163m72%
Passenger revenue per ASK6.46c6.52c99%
Passengers carried40m56m71%
Passenger load factor77.883.094%
Source: IAG H1 earnings report

Therefore, the view of achieving operating profitability by the end of the year is starting to become a realistic possibility. All signs are pointing towards an increasingly promising rest of the year for the FTSE 100 firm.

Striking deals

Apart from the much improved financial performance of the company, IAG also managed to quash fears of future strikes. The company managed to strike a deal with 16,000 workers for a 13% pay rise this year. This should alleviate fears of last-minute flight cancellations, at least for the time being.

Nonetheless, not all is as smooth cruising as it may seem. This is because Heathrow Airport has opted to extend its cap on passenger numbers until the end of October, with no more than 100,000 travellers per day, leading to cancellations of tens of thousands of flights. As Heathrow is the hub of IAG’s most profitable airline, I’m expecting this to impact H2 results.

As a result, CEO Luis Gallego revised the company’s outlook downwards. IAG now expects capacity to hit 78% of 2019 levels, as compared to the previous 80% that IAG had expected. From this, North Atlantic capacity (IAG’s most profitable routes) is now expected to hit 92% of 2019 levels in Q3, compared to the previous guidance of 95%.

Having reservations

While the future outlook for IAG still remains rather promising, I have my reservations regarding its potential upside. Although passenger demand still remains strong, I’m fearful that it’s only a matter of time before sky-high inflation, and a potential recession on the cards, starts hitting consumers harder.

Furthermore, IAG’s long-haul recovery continues to lag that of shorter trips. The continued travel restrictions in large parts of Asia, specifically China, is hindering its growth potential. And with China sticking to its zero-Covid policy, this avenue doesn’t look likely to recover any time soon. Business travel also still continues to lag, only hitting 60% of its pre-pandemic volume. Moreover, as the winter months approach, I’m expecting the number of holiday travellers to start winding down.

Even though IAG shares have the potential to grow plenty, my optimism is hindered by a cloudy economic environment. Overall costs still remain high and, most importantly, the company still has a mountain of debt to pay off, which is expected to increase going into the year end. For that reason, I won’t be investing in IAG shares.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

John Choong has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

More on Investing Articles

Happy young female stock-picker in a cafe
Investing Articles

Operating profit up 26%! Auto Trader is leading the FTSE 100 on results day

An explosive move higher from the Auto Trader share price suggests the full-year results are good, but is the stock…

Read more »

Midnight is celebrated along the River Thames in London with a spectacular and colourful firework display.
Investing Articles

If I’d put £2,000 in Nvidia stock when ChatGPT came out, here’s what I’d have now

Our writer looks at the eye-popping gains that Nvidia stock has made in the 18 months since the release of…

Read more »

British Pennies on a Pound Note
Investing Articles

This former penny share is up 163% in a year. Could it be worth even more?

Christopher Ruane explains some of the concerns that kept him away from a penny share before its stellar rise --…

Read more »

Young Caucasian woman with pink her studying from her laptop screen
Investing Articles

I’m not convinced the Dr Martens share price is a bargain. Here’s why

After the bootmaker reported its full year results today, our writer explains why a Dr Martens share price in pennies…

Read more »

Person holding magnifying glass over important document, reading the small print
Investing Articles

Should I invest in the S&P 500 or FTSE 100?

Ben McPoland thinks one FTSE 100 stock might offer a compromise between high US market growth and cheap Footsie valuations.

Read more »

Young Caucasian woman with pink her studying from her laptop screen
Investing Articles

How much passive income could I earn by investing £100 a month in UK shares?

With just a £100 monthly investment in UK dividend shares, I could achieve a decent passive income stream of over…

Read more »

Young Woman Drives Car With Dog in Back Seat
Investing Articles

Looking for cheap growth shares? Here’s a FTSE 250 stock to consider in June

Pets at Home shares still look dirt cheap, says Royston Wild. Here, he explains why the retailer might be one…

Read more »

Number three written on white chat bubble on blue background
Investing Articles

The 3 big risks to Lloyds’ share price in 2024!

Is the Lloyds share price one of the FTSE 100's worst investor traps? Royston Wild thinks the bank's shares could…

Read more »