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Why Shares of TransDigm Group Soared in January

By Lou Whiteman – Feb 7, 2020 at 1:03PM

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An earnings preannouncement provided the "all clear" to buy the stock ahead of earnings.

What happened

Shares of TransDigm Group (TDG -2.15%) traded up 14.9% in January, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, after the aerospace and defense component supplier preannounced some of its quarterly results.

So what

TransDigm has long been a Wall Street darling, with shares up more than 1,200% over the past 10 years, thanks to the company's ability to generate software-like 45%-plus margins from a collection of aerospace component businesses.

Two planes flying past each other overhead.

Image source: Getty Images.

But over the last year investors have had reason to question whether the performance can continue. TransDigm is a serial acquirer but some feared the company had bitten off more than it could chew with its $4 billion acquisition of chronic underperformer Esterline Technologies. The company also has exposure to the Boeing 737 MAX, and has been the subject of a government probe into its Pentagon billing practices.

TransDigm wasn't scheduled to release quarterly results in January, but investors got a preview of how the quarter went when the company preannounced some of its numbers on Jan. 23 in connection with a planned refinancing of some debt. The figures indicated a strong quarter trending ahead of expectations, and investors reacted by sending the shares higher.

Now what

TransDigm delivered fiscal first-quarter results in early February that came in 6% higher than raised expectations. Just as important, management held firm on full-year guidance, with CEO Kevin Stein saying on a post-earnings call, "we believe any currently anticipated impact from the MAX issues should not have a material impact on our EBITDA for the full fiscal year."

TransDigm is the first stock I'd recommend to anyone seeking exposure to the commercial aerospace market, even after January's share price jump. This is a solid performer with plenty of opportunities to keep delivering for investors.

Lou Whiteman owns shares of TransDigm Group. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends TransDigm Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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