While Delays Knock Down Virgin Galactic Stock, Be Ready to Buy the Dip


By now, you probably know Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) as that overly ambitious space company headed by Richard Branson. And since 2007, he claimed that the company is going to commercially fly people into outer-space. Yet, here we are in 2020; No such flights have happened, and SPCE stock investors are starting to get fed up.

Virgin Galactic (SPCE) billboard on the New York Stock Exchange, across from the Fearless Girl statue.

Source: Tun Pichitanon / Shutterstock.com

Most recently, Virgin Galactic announced yet another delay of its landmark first commercial spaceflight for Branson from the second-half of 2020, to 2021.

SPCE stock tanked on the news. And since that announcement, shares have shed nearly 30%.

Nonetheless, innovation takes time. Changing the world with disruptive technology, and inventing an entirely new category of space mobility doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes years.

And make no mistake. Virgin Galactic is on the cutting edge of defining an entirely new space economy potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars across the space tourism and travel verticals.

So, don’t let a few delays in 2020 scare you out of SPCE stock. Instead, keep your eyes geared towards the long-haul, and use recent weakness to buy the dip.

Long-term, Virgin Galactic stock is only going higher. And here’s why.

A Leader in an Emerging Category

The first important thing to understand about Virgin Galactic is that this is not just another moonshot company with overly ambitious space tourism goals.

It’s one of two companies in the world that is on the cutting edge of turning space tourism into a reality, with the other being Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

That said, Virgin Galactic’s leadership in this space can be summed up into three things: hardware, resources and talent.

The hardware is impressive. The company currently has two space ships, with plans to build another three by 2023. These space ships aren’t any old spaceships. Instead, they are breaking new ground on the final frontier.

For example, the oldest of these space ships, the VSS Unity, has set unprecedented milestones over the past two years — including completing the first successful commercial space flights with humans and non-pilot crew.

The company also has the resources to sustain impressive innovation. There was $360 million on the balance sheet as of late June, and Virgin Galactic just raised another $460 million through a secondary offering. Thus, the company today probably has somewhere north of $800 million on the balance sheet — a hefty sum which can be used to invest in research and development (R&D), and pushing forward on breakthrough technologies.

Finally, the company is attracting top-tier talent. The CEO is a former Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) executive, and the Chief Space Officer was the former Chief of Staff at NASA. And many other executives are NASA alums.

Broadly, then, Virgin Galactic has all the ingredients to one day become a disruptive space tourism company.

Enormous Luxury Space Tourism Opportunity

Collectively, everyone wants to go to space. There’s no denying that simple truth. That’s why 700 consumers have made prepayments of Virgin Galactic flights at $225,000 a ticket, despite the consistent delays.

The appetite to go to space is just that robust. Thus, demand will never be a problem for Virgin Galactic.

Moreover, assuming the company can meet that robust demand with equally robust supply — a dozen or so space ships, making about five trips per month, with six passengers on each flight at an average ticker price of $250,000 — then Virgin Galactic could be a $1 billion-plus revenue company by the end of the decade.

Will that be all that hard to do? Virgin Galactic already has two space ships. And those ships are fully capable of making five trips per months, and have seating capacity for up to six. So, can Virgin make another 10 over the next 10 years? One a year?

Seems pretty likely.

Not to mention, space tourism — because it commands such high-ticket prices — is a very high margin business. Like 75% gross margins, with muted other expense rates — meaning that Virgin Galactic’s $1+ billion luxury tourism revenue business could be generating hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. My numbers suggest $500 million in net profits is totally doable. And a 20-times multiple on that implies a $10 billion market capitalization.

At the current SPCE stock price, Virgin Galactic has a $3.68 billion market cap. So, there’s tons of long-term upside potential for SPCE stock.

The Bigger & Broader Space Technology Opportunity

Luxury space tourism is just the tip of the iceberg for Virgin Galactic, in that it’s just Phase I of a three-phase growth narrative for Virgin Galactic.

Phase II is leveraging economies scale and technological advancements to drive space tourism prices lower, and expand consumer interest beyond high net worth individuals — similar to what Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) did in the electric vehicle (EV) market with the Model 3.

Of course, if Virgin Galactic can pull this off, then you’re talking flying much more than just 360 high-net worth people into space every month. You could potentially be talking thousands of people flying into space every month.

Meanwhile, Phase III is applying Virgin Galactic’s proprietary hypersonic technologies to develop high speed global mobility vehicles — like a super-fast airplane that will take you from LA to Tokyo in 2 hours.

In the big picture, then, Virgin Galactic is on the cutting edge of defining some super-huge, potentially multi-hundred-billion dollar markets.

Therefore, don’t let a few delays in 2020 detract from that compelling long-term bull thesis on SPCE stock.

Bottom Line on SPCE Stock

As I said before, innovation takes time — especially mobility innovation. Just ask Tesla. It took that company years to define and pioneer the new EV mobility category. Now, they’re killing the game — and TSLA stock is taking off like a rocket ship.

That said, Virgin Galactic will follow in similar footsteps.

And to that end, near-term delays from Virgin Galactic are nothing more than long-term buying opportunities into SPCE stock.

Luke Lango is a Markets Analyst for InvestorPlace. He has been professionally analyzing stocks for several years, previously working at various hedge funds and currently running his own investment fund in San Diego. A Caltech graduate, Luke has consistently been recognized as one of the best stock pickers in the world by various other analysts and platforms, and has developed a reputation for leveraging his technology background to identify growth stocks that deliver outstanding returns. Luke is also the founder of Fantastic, a social discovery company backed by an LA-based internet venture firm.  As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2020/08/while-delays-knock-down-spce-stock-be-ready-to-buy-the-dip/.

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