Why Gogo, Inc. Shares Tanked Today

While there aren't serious problems with the company, it might be time for a valuation gut-check.

Aug 11, 2014 at 11:46AM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Gogo (NASDAQ:GOGO)-- the leader in in-flight Internet connectivity -- were down today by as much as 12%. The company's earnings and revenue came in slightly ahead of analysts' expectations, but investors were spooked by guidance.

So what: Gogo continued to show impressive growth from its mature markets. Overall, revenue was up 25%, while the company's overall losses were cut almost in half.

Average monthly revenue per aircraft (ARPA), a key metric, was up 14% for the North American commercial aviation fleet. This segment represented 62% of all revenue, and showed profit growth of 170% to $6.4 million.

The company's business aviation segment, while pulling in just 37% of Gogo's revenue, raked in profits of $15.5 million -- up 48% from last year, and more than twice that of commercial aviation. Over the past year, the company grew the number of aircraft using the company's air-to-ground systems by a whopping 43%.

The real concern came from the company's attempts to become a leader in in-flight connectivity for international flights. Only 19 international aircraft -- all from Delta (NYSE: DAL) -- had Gogo's Ku-band satellite connectivity systems installed. This segment lost $18.8 million as it built out its infrastructure, and the company said adjusted EBITDA would come in on the low end of guidance because of that buildout.

Now what: Gogo investors got a shock earlier in the year when AT&T (NYSE:T) announced it planned on entering the in-flight connectivity game. While the behemoth might have the infrastructure to make waves in the North American commercial market, the same isn't necessarily true for international flights.

That's why Gogo's expansion plans abroad are so important. By year's end, the company expects 50 to 100 international aircraft to have Ku-band satellite coverage. The decision to invest heavily here is crucial, so the company is definitely making the right move.

At the same time, analysts don't expect Gogo to turn a profit until 2016. That means that even after today's fall, the stock is trading for 48 times expected 2016 earnings. There's really no bad news in today's earnings, just a combination of a reality check for the stock's valuation, combined with a heavy short interest.

If Gogo is able to corner the in-flight connectivity market, today's price could look like a steal 10 years from now. If, on the other hand, larger players take away business in key markets, Gogo could have a tough time funding its international ambitions. Either way, investors need to realize that the ride in between now and then is likely to be volatile.

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Brian Stoffel owns shares of Apple and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (C shares), and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (C shares), and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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