The FTSE 100’s Hottest Growth Stocks: easyJet plc

Today I am outlining why easyJet (LSE: EZJ) could be considered a terrific stock for growth hunters.

Passenger numbers continue to climb

The rising popularity of low-cost airlines such as easyJet across the globe shows no signs of pulling back, the global recession of five years ago having prompted a sea change in traveller expectations who now demand to travel further for less.

On the back of this easyJet saw total revenues stomp 8.6% higher during April-June to £1.2bn, and the airline says that — despite the effect easyjetof geopolitical stress in Israel, Russia and Egypt — it expects pre-tax profit to ring in at between £545m and £570m in the current financial year, up from £478m in 2013.

And latest traffic data released last week confirmed the firm’s excellent record of attracting flyers, with passenger numbers advancing 8.4% in August to 6.6 million and the load factor — in other words the number of ‘filled’ seats — rising 140 basis points to 94.2%.

The business continues to add to its already-sprawling European network to boost passenger numbers still further, and announced in July plans to operate between London Luton and Rome Fiumicino in October in a bid to latch onto rising demand for trips to Italy. The carrier estimates that as many as 50,000 passengers could use the new flights each year.

With easyJet also gaining market share in the lucrative business passenger sub-sector — custom here rose 7% during April-June despite Easter falling in the quarter — easyJet should continue to enjoy surging ticket sales.

A soaring earnings selection

Like all of the world’s major airlines, easyJet suffered severe earnings weakness after the 2008/2009 financial crisis hammered passenger volumes. But the orange airline has seen the bottom line surge since then as demand for budget flights has flourished, and the business has seen earnings canter at a compound annual growth rate of 52.8% during the past four years.

And City analysts expect the good times to keep on rolling, albeit at a reduced pace from previous years — indeed, earnings are predicted to rise 12% during the year concluding September 2014 and by a further 11% in the following 12-month period.

These figures give investors plenty of bang for their buck, in my opinion, with easyJet trading on P/E multiples of 12.3 times and 11 times prospective earnings for 2014 and 2015 respectively, well within the yardstick of 15 which represents decent value for money and banging on the bargain benchmark of 10 for next year.

And the airline’s excellent price is underlined by price to earnings to growth (PEG) figures of 1.1 for this year and 1 for 2015 — any figure around 1 is considered tremendous value.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.