Thursday, July 19, 2007

Boeing Is a Dream

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was introduced to the world on July 8. While you may not have seen much about the new plane in your local newspaper, it may be the most important new product of the 21st century.

The 787 Dreamliner is a show stopper. It is the world's first mostly composite commercial airplane. It will not only use 20 percent less fuel per passenger than similarly sized airplanes, but also produce fewer carbon emissions, and yet offer quieter takeoffs and landings.

The Dreamliner has been so successful in its advance orders that Airbus, its European rival, has suffered some order cancellations for some of its new products.

As Boeing's success with the Dreamliner has become more apparent, the stock has begun to rise. Indeed, it has tripled over the past 4 years. Recently, I have seen many analysts say that Boeing has come too far too fast. I do not agree. Our Dividend Valuation Model for BA shows why.

The Chart shows BA's actual annual prices (blue line) and our model's predicted values( green bars) over the last 20 years. You can see that over the last four years, BA's prices and predicted values have been almost a perfect fit. Therefore the current price of the stock is fully substantiated by the recent dividend growth of the company.

The striped bar to the right is the predicted value of BA based on my year-ahead dividend growth and interest rate predictions. That price is near $120 per share. That would be nearly a 20% increase from the current price of $102.40.

My guess is the Dreamliner will be an even bigger success than the market now believes, and thus, my year ahead prediction may be low. You know I can't see the future and the airline business is a treacherous business, so success is not assured. Having said that I want you to think about Boeing in a little different way.

There are only two major airplane manufacturers in the world, Boeing and Airbus. With the growing global economy, these two companies have what amounts to a toll road connecting every continent of the world. If you want to go to China, you will go on a plane made by Boeing or Airbus. The same for Europe, Japan, and South America. The only way a human being can reasonably travel long distances in on aircraft made by these two companies.

The airline business may continue to be a cutthroat business, but the aircraft manufacturing business is a duopoly. Unless these companies are run by fools they both have a very bright future, especially when the world is clamoring for more fuel efficient planes. Boeing is certainly not run by a fool. James McNerney has a proven track record of turning businesses around and maximizing profits.

There are all kinds of reasons why my optimism might not come to fruition, but I believe there are many more that say it will.

The stock is owned in our Capital Builder investment style.