Analysts at Cowen have upgraded Textron to outperform based in part on Textron Aviation’s strength in the business jet market and Bell’s “underappreciated eVTOL play,” according to a report published by the investment firm this week. Specifically, the report notes that the percentage of preowned Textron Aviation business jets—meaning Cessna Citations—for sale has dropped by half since September 2020, to 4.2 percent of the in-service fleet. It adds: “Dealers report buyers’ frenzy, driving prices up.”
On the new-production side, an improving order mix with about 20 percent of bookings from first-time buyers and return of corporate buyers is also a positive development for the Wichita airframer, the report notes. And the emergence of the Delta variant could stretch the demand for the safety and convenience of business jets, it adds.
“This could extend the demand upswing with better profitability than in the last decade,” Cowen analysts said. Textron Aviation’s order intake in the third quarter should remain healthy and extend lead times, as well as bolster productivity and pricing, the report says.
On the eVTOL front, Cowen analysts are also bullish on Bell Textron, which they wrote “has potential to be an eVTOL leader" based on its experience with tiltrotors, strong and existing relationships with likely customers such as Blade and Wheels Up, and “extensive” aircraft certification knowledge. “Also, its strategy is to be an OEM only,” the report says. “This offers an edge in selling to third party operators versus would-be OEM/operators like Joby, Archer, and Lilium. TXT's go-slow approach may allow more aggressive players to get established, but the market likely is large enough to support multiple participants.”