Rolls-Royce (LSE:RR) was one of the biggest losers of the stock market crash caused by Covid-19 last year. What is ahead for the Rolls-Royce share price in the coming months, and is there an opportunity here for me to pick up cheap shares?
Rolls-Royce share price woes
Between February 2020 and September 2020, the Rolls-Royce share price lost 80%. Across the whole of 2020, the Rolls-Royce share price declined by over 50%. Its debt levels rose as it borrowed to keep the lights on, and it also cut jobs and announced a rights issue to generate cash flow.
In December, the Rolls-Royce share price experienced its highest post-Covid-19 price. Shares were trading for 135p per share. Since that time, however, the share price has fallen over 20%.
Challenges and outlook ahead
Airlines are operating more than at this time last year. The issue here is that Covid-19 is still rife and there could be further restrictions if another wave hits.
In terms of Rolls-Royce, I believe the overall outlook is improving. I do believe, as I write, the worst of the crisis is over. It has taken the necessary steps to see it through some tough times and has begun to shore up its once-beleaguered balance sheet. There are still some challenges it needs to overcome, however.
In a recent trading update, Rolls-Royce predicted a free cash outflow in the region of £2bn in 2021. This is money that is going out of the business that its management team will need to find from somewhere. In the same update, it did mention its £9bn liquidity, which is a good sign in my opinion. This should help with the cash outflow mentioned.
The Rolls-Royce share price could benefit in the future if ambitions are achieved. It believes it can generate over £700m of free cash flow by 2022. This is a projection based on past figures and flying hours of engines. Cash is king and this could put Rolls-Royce in a much better position.
I believe there is lots of recovery potential linked to the Rolls-Royce share price. The issue I have is that this recovery is linked to Covid-19. I don’t think it can handle another scenario whereby planes are grounded and it faces severe losses. It must be noted that different parts of the world are in different states related to the virus. The US seems to be flourishing from an aviation perspective and is a market Rolls-Royce can capitalise on. Asia is struggling right now with a deadly variant, and there seems to be another lockdown on the horizon over there.
I believe the current Rolls-Royce share price is not reflective of its improving stature, and I think it will creep up over the coming months. I class it as a high-risk investment but I think it is priced quite low right now. It could make an interesting recovery play for my portfolio. Right now, I would not invest in Rolls Royce shares but will keep a keen eye on developments.
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Jabran Khan 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.