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An airplane on a runway
Image source: Getty Images.

Budget carrier Wizz Air Holdings (LSE: WIZZ) has developed a momentum of its own, its share price almost doubling in the past year. Today it publishes its unaudited results for the three months to 31 December and continues to hit the heights after posting record quarterly profits. However, investors are keeping their feet on the ground, with the share price dipping 2.4% at time of writing. Presumably they expected even better.

Gee Wizz

In Q3, FTSE 250-listed Wizz carried more passengers and sold more add-on services. Ticket revenues increased 26.1% to €241.7m, and ancillary revenues grew 21.3% to €181.1m. Profit for the period hit a record €14m, up 3.6% year-on-year, while total cash stood at €1.14bn, of which €975m was free cash.

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However, pre-tax profit dropped 56% to €14.6m, mainly due to exceptional financial income recorded the year before. Total unit revenue increased 1.3% to 3.35 euro cents per available seat kilometre. Fuel unit costs rose 8.8%. These numbers may also explain investor diffidence.

Carrier trade

There is a lot to like at Wizz Air, which has recovered well from its post-Brexit shocker. This is now a £3.58bn business and self-styled “largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe”. It offers more than 550 routes from 28 bases, connecting 145 destinations across 44 countries. Currently valued at a pricey 22.8 times earnings but continued strong growth should trim that to 15.9% in 2019.

Earnings per share are forecast to grow a whizzy 25% in the year to 31 March, then 18% in 2019 and another 19% in 2020. There is currently no dividend so this is a growth play, and a flighty one.

All that glisters

FTSE 250-listed gold miner Centamin (LSE: CEY) posted its annual results for the year ended 31 December this morning to a twitch of approval from markets, with the stock up 0.47% at time of writing. Despite the recent gold price recovery, Centamin has had an unexceptional year, its share price trading just 5% higher than 12 months ago. However, this is mostly due to a slowdown from previous breakneck growth: measured over two years it is up 134%.

Chairman Josef El-Raghy said 2017 saw the company “firmly consolidate its position as one of the world’s leading low-cost gold producers,” which overlooks the fact that pre-tax profit for the year actually dropped 16% to $224.1m. The slight increase in the price of gold was offset by a fall in sales, as revenue slipped 1.7% from $687.4m to $675.5m. 

Ounce for ounce

Cash costs of production at Centamin’s main asset, the Sukari Gold Mine in Egypt, improved 15% to $453 per ounce over the year, driven by an increase in ounces produced. The benefits were slightly offset by an increase in fuel and re-agent costs. 

Cash flow generation remains strong at $142 and although down 41% this was “almost entirely due to the impact of increased profit share payments,” El-Raghy said. The balance sheet is in good health, the company is free of debt and my Foolish colleague Peter Stephens has taken a shine to Centamin.

The group puts a priority on rewarding shareholders and currently has a forecast dividend yield of 3.6%, covered 1.7 times. EPS are forecast to grow a hefty 40% in 2018, then another 8% in 2019. The stock trades at a reasonable 16.3 times forward earnings.

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Harvey Jones 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.

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