KNOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED
Turbulent times for investors in the aviation sector
Things have been going in Comair’s favour, passenger numbers have risen annually and cash flow is strong, but risks are lurking too, writes Stafford Thomas
One of the key attributes traders look for in a share is high price volatility. It is an attribute Comair offers in abundance. In its 20 years as a listed company its share price has experienced periods of soaring advances, including a winning streak that began in July 2012 and ended in March 2015 after a more than 400% price gain. There have also been precipitous price declines. The most recent of these set in in April 2015 and ended nine months later, with Comair’s price having nosedived more than 60%. It was time to climb on board again. Comair’s share went on to rise 55% in 2016 and another 60% in 2017, to take the price to a record high. All in all, there was a gain of 130% in the two years. But in typical Comair fashion its share price has since the end of 2017 retreated 13%. High share-price volatility has been driven by equally high profit volatility. An extreme example was in Comair’s financial year to June 2012, when its headline profit slumped to R18m from R77m in the pre...