Stockbrokers back airline to come through turbulence with flying colours

DESPITE the massive fall in the price of Ryanair shares, which has seen the value of the airline fall by hundreds of millions of euro, no Irish stockbroker is advising clients to sell the stock.

All agree there is turbulence ahead for Europe's biggest low fare airline and three brokers in particular believe the billion euro plus fall in the value of the stock was overdone.

And they have been proved right, in the very short term at least, as the shares ended up on the day yesterday.

Dolmen Stockbroker's Stuart Draper said in a note to clients: "The current share price of under €5 represents a compelling entry level into such future growth, with the shares now trading at only 13.6 times forward earnings.

"The company's institutional roadshow over the next few days may help start the share price recovery. However, near term, we would caution that there is still a high risk of some further sentiment driven share price weakness: Buy." NCB's Shane Matthews is also bullish on the stock: "We expect the company to weather this storm and increase its market share.

"We would expect the company to trade on a 20 times 2006 multiple once there is any confirmation that normal summer trading patterns have been re-established. This would give us a year end price target of €6," he said.

Merrion's John Mattimoe switched their recommendation to hold as Ryanair intensifies the high level of price competition. He believes that it is now likely hat a reduction in the excess capacity in the industry will be required: "This will require strong demand growth or, more likely, a reduction in capacity either through retrenchment or by, market failure of higher cost participants."

Goodbody's Joe Gill said the message is clear when it comes to large low cost carriers like Ryanair and Southwest: "Buy these stocks in the bad days and sell them when they look like taking over the world."

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