Why Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd shares can soar for years to come

Credit: Woodys Aeroimages

The shares of Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) have performed reasonably well during the recent market turmoil, losing just 2% of their value since the turn of the year. While there may not necessarily be any bargains to be found here, I believe there certainly is a lot of value in its shares.

The shares are currently trading on a price-to-earnings ratio of 15, which is in line with the market average and quite a discount to competitors Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) and Corporate Travel Management Ltd (ASX: CTD) which trade at price-to-earning ratios of 20 and 35, respectively.

The growth of the company overseas has been very impressive. As of the end of its fiscal year 2015 the US and UK segments had grown their total transaction value in Australian dollars by 18% and 24%, respectively. In local currency they were still up by 6% and 17% year over year.

The fledgling China, India, and Singapore segments have a lot of potential which should give investors a lot of encouragement. The rapidly growing middle classes of China and India could be a catalyst for high levels of growth helping earnings grow at a strong rate for many years to come.

It is for this reason that I believe analysts are expecting earnings to grow by an average of just over 6% per annum for the next few years according to CommSec. As the share price seems just about fairly valued at present, I would expect it to rise in line with the growth of its earnings per share. Combined with its growing dividend that yields a fully-franked 4% at present, you’re looking at potential shareholder returns in excess of 10% per annum.

Another positive for Flight Centre investors is its lower than average beta of 0.9. We really do not know when this market volatility will subside. If it does persist the low beta it possesses could prove to be an invaluable asset.

As well as Webjet the company faces a number of international competitors online that include well known names such as ExpediaSkyscanner, and Kayak. In such a highly competitive industry there is always a danger that it could lose market share, causing earnings to suffer and share price declines. I believe, however, that its physical presence combined with its online presence does provide it with an edge over competitors at present.

Foolish takeaway

Much like Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) and Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS), which I have spoken about previously, Flight Centre shares provide investors with a low beta and strong earnings potential, which is a great asset to have during volatile times.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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