Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK) and Ryanair Holdings PLC (NASDAQ:RYAAY) are both mid-cap transportation companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, valuation, dividends, earnings and profitability.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent recommendations for Alaska Air Group and Ryanair Holdings PLC, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Alaska Air Group 0 2 7 0 2.78
Ryanair Holdings PLC 4 1 7 0 2.25

Alaska Air Group currently has a consensus price target of $100.75, suggesting a potential upside of 25.26%. Ryanair Holdings PLC has a consensus price target of $96.00, suggesting a potential downside of 9.43%. Given Alaska Air Group’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Alaska Air Group is more favorable than Ryanair Holdings PLC.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Alaska Air Group and Ryanair Holdings PLC’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Alaska Air Group $6.94 billion 1.43 $1.84 billion $6.16 13.06
Ryanair Holdings PLC N/A N/A N/A $6.48 16.36

Alaska Air Group has higher revenue and earnings than Ryanair Holdings PLC. Alaska Air Group is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Ryanair Holdings PLC, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares Alaska Air Group and Ryanair Holdings PLC’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Alaska Air Group 11.02% 30.04% 9.14%
Ryanair Holdings PLC 21.44% 34.02% 13.43%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

87.7% of Alaska Air Group shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 40.4% of Ryanair Holdings PLC shares are held by institutional investors. 0.6% of Alaska Air Group shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Risk and Volatility

Alaska Air Group has a beta of 0.99, indicating that its stock price is 1% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ryanair Holdings PLC has a beta of 0.59, indicating that its stock price is 41% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Alaska Air Group pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.5%. Ryanair Holdings PLC does not pay a dividend. Alaska Air Group pays out 19.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Ryanair Holdings PLC has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years.

Alaska Air Group Company Profile

Alaska Air Group, Inc. is the holding company of Alaska Airlines (Alaska), Virgin America Inc., Horizon Air (Horizon) and other business units. The Company operates through three segments: Mainline, Regional and Horizon. Its Mainline segment includes Alaska’s and Virgin America’s scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo throughout the United States, and in parts of Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Cuba. Its Regional segment includes Horizon’s and other third-party carriers’ scheduled air transportation for passengers across a shorter distance network within the United States under capacity purchased arrangements (CPAs). Its Horizon segment includes the capacity sold to Alaska under CPA. Alaska and Virgin America operate fleets of narrowbody passenger jets. As of December 31, 2016, it maintained two frequent flyer plans: the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and the Virgin America Elevate.

Ryanair Holdings PLC Company Profile

Ryanair Holdings plc (Ryanair Holdings) is a holding company for Ryanair Limited (Ryanair). Ryanair operates an ultra-low fare, scheduled-passenger airline serving short-haul, point-to-point routes between Ireland, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Morocco and Israel. Ryanair provides various ancillary services and engages in other activities connected with its core air passenger service, including non-flight scheduled services, Internet-related services, and the in-flight sale of beverages, food and merchandise. Ryanair markets accommodation services and travel insurance through its Website. It provides hotel and accommodation services. Ryanair provides its own aircraft and passenger handling and ticketing services at Dublin Airport. As of June 30, 2016, Ryanair had a principal fleet of over 350 Boeing 737-800 aircraft and offered over 2,000 scheduled short-haul flights per day serving approximately 200 airports throughout Europe.

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