Aviation shares under pressure; SpiceJet hits 52-week low, IndiGo slips 4{bce2ac57dae147ae13b811f47f24d80c66c6ab504b39dda4a9b6e8ac93725942}

Shares of aviation companies were under pressure on Wednesday, falling upto 8 per cent on the BSE, on concerns that the industry may face risks from the coronavirus outbreak.

Among individual stocks, SpiceJet slipped 8 per cent to Rs 68.60, its lowest level since October 11, 2018 on the BSE. Thus far in calendar year 2020 (CY20), the stock has tanked 39 per cent, as compared to 6 per cent decline in the S&P BSE Sensex in the same period.

Shares of InterGlobe Aviation, parent of the country’s largest airline IndiGo, dipped 4.6 per cent to Rs 1,173 on the BSE. The stock was trading close to its 52-week low of Rs 1,119, touched on March 5, 2019. It has fallen 12 per cent thus far in CY20.

The sudden and rapidly spreading coronavirus respiratory disease is centered in China but has spread internationally, drawing comparisons with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

“Air traffic, revenue, and earnings dropped steeply in selected regions and with certain airlines during the SARS outbreak. We see the potential for a similar effect from the coronavirus outbreak”, S&P Global Ratings analysists Philip A. Baggaley and Rachel J. Gerrish said in recent note.

Meanwhile, Air India has cut flights to Italy, Japan and Korea while IndiGo has placed four of its crew members under home observation to check the spread of coronavirus, Business Standard reported. READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

The civil aviation regulator has issued instructions to disinfect aircraft and come up with safety precautions to prevent spread of the virus. The national carrier’s decision to reduce frequencies comes as the government suspended visas of citizens of the three countries, the report said.

The uncertainty over the timeline for resumption of MAX operations is clouding profitability at a time when the sector is facing demand headwinds due to the slowing economy – pricing shows no signs of improvement despite the consolidation in the sector.

While most peers except for the market leader are thinly capitalized they do enjoy support from strong sponsors/promoters groups to see them through difficult times. Hence, for SpiceJet, it is important that MAX operations resume at the earliest, analysts at SBICAP Securities said in result review.