Why the Corporate Travel share price is going gangbusters today

Credit: Jaan

Shares in Corporate Travel Management Ltd (ASX: CTD) are up nearly 6 per cent to a record high of $13.84 this afternoon after the company announced it has partnered with flybuys the loyalty rewards scheme of supermarket Coles to launch a travel booking website.

No financial details were provided over the deal, but flybuys is a giant shopping rewards program and the deal appears a major coup for the entrepreneurial management team at Corporate Travel.

The new travel booking website is up and running at and will likely prove popular with shoppers who will be able to redeem points against the cost of local and international flights with the likes of Jetstar Airways or Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX: VAH).

The fact that Corporate Travel has been able to secure the agreement demonstrates how it has become a truly global travel player with significant operations and booking capabilities across ANZ, Asia, North America and Europe.

It’s achieved the global footprint largely via an acquisitive growth strategy, although the highlight of its recent interim financial result was the strong organic growth.

For the six months ending December 31 2015, approximately 73% of total transaction value, 53% of revenue growth and 80% of underlying earnings growth was organic. When you add in the integration of some smart acquisitions you can begin to see why comparisons with Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) are not so preposterous after all.

Despite the impressive organic growth numbers and new client wins many professional fund managers have been shorting the stock, or betting against it going up.

As at 31 March 2015 the company had nearly 6 per cent of its stock shorted, which means many fund managers will be peeling the egg of their face today and nursing some heavy losses as the stock races to a record high near $14.

Part of today’s rise is probably due to a short squeeze as hedge funds close out loss-making short positions, while investors wonder just what the long-term impact on the profitability of Corporate Travel could be.

The fact that management has persuaded a conglomerate the size of Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) (it operates Coles, Bunnings, Target and Kmart among other giant retail operations) to utilize its technology is clearly good news for Corporate Travel investors and another feather in management’s cap.

However, until news arrives of the deal’s financials it’s difficult to know its materiality. Either way the founder-led Corporate Travel Management retains a strong outlook and I would not risk egg on my face betting against it.

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson owns shares of Corporate Travel Management Limited.

You can find Tom on Twitter @tommyr345

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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