Imperial Capital Starts United Continental (UAL) at Outperform
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Imperial Capital initiates coverage on United Continental (NYSE: UAL) with a Outperform rating and a price target of $57.00, saying they see many strengths and fixable problems.
Analyst Michael Derchin commented, "There have been a number of recent developments that support our constructive view on the stock. While UAL has many strengths, including great domestic hubs in San Francisco, Newark, Houston, Denver, and Chicago, and an Asia-Pacific presence that surpasses many of its peers, it has had more than its share of challenges since its merger with Continental Airlines closed in October 2010. We expect the recent appointments of Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Levy and Chief Commercial Officer, Julia Haywood, will improve the problem solving skills at UAL and provide an entrepreneurial bent, which, in our view, were attributes in short supply at this “mega-carrier” in recent years. The ratification of a new labor contract by the flight attendants after long and contentious post-merger negotiations should finally permit integration of United and Continental workers, which we expect to improve morale and productivity (we believe that former Continental workers still refer to themselves as "ex-Cons"). In addition, if the mechanics ratify the recent tentative agreement reached with the Teamsters union, UAL’s goal of having long-term contracts in place with all key unions should also be finally realized."
Shares of United Continental closed at $46.95 yesterday.
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