Loyalty program company Aimia (Aimia Stock Quote, Chart TSX:AIM) is showing signs of progress in its ongoing restructuring, says analyst Neil Linsdell of Industrial Alliance Securities, who on Wednesday provided a research update to clients on the company’s quarterly results.
Montreal-based Aimia reported its fiscal first quarter ended March 31, 2019, on Tuesday, the first since the sale of Aeroplan to Air Canada, a $497-million deal which allowed Aimia to repay its credit facility while losing about half of its workforce to Air Canada. The sale and subsequent strategic update are part and parcel of the company’s plan to return to profitability by 2020, said CEO Jeremy Rabe.
”We are a more efficient, nimbler business with a clear plan to deploy capital. On the back of the strategic direction announced in March, we are building real momentum with employees and customers. Our pipeline of M&A opportunities is also robust and growing,” Rabe said in a press release.
In addition to signing a new multi-year contract with HSBC, its main partner in Air Miles Middle East, Aimia is returning about one-quarter of its $633 million in cash on-hand to investors through a substantial issuer bid for $150 million, which is expected to close on May 21.
Aimia’s Q1 generated positive EBITDA of $0.9 million compared to a loss of $6.5 million a year ago and revenues of $34.7 million compared to a top line of $45.0 million a year ago.
In response to the quarterly results, Linsdell is holding steady with his rating and target price, calling AIM a “Buy” with a target of $5.50, which represented a projected return of 32.2 per cent at the time of publication.
“2019 will be a transition year for Aimia as it right-sizes its operations that are left after the Aeroplan sale. Furthermore, the pro forma available cash should be approximately $400 million (after the $150 million SIB payout, payout to HSBC, and tax adjustments), as the company looks to act on its robust M&A pipeline,” says Linsdell.
“As such, quarterly results for the time being (which we expect to remain challenging as turnover from the sale of Aeroplan hasn’t fully rolled off yet) will have a minimal impact on the stock’s performance. The focus remains on returning to profitability at its existing businesses by 2020,” he says.