We don't always get the chance to double dip, but I think we've got a sweet opportunity for that with Mexican airport operator GrupoAeroportuario del Sureste, known by the acronym ASUR
Here's the latest news to be excited about: May total passenger traffic dropped 4.7%.
Yeah, that's right.
"What's so great about a 5% traffic drop?" you ask?
Plenty, my skeptical imaginary friend, especially considering that ASUR's main traffic destinations were creamed last year by Hurricane Wilma and are still recovering. Cancun is still, by the reports I've seen, a mess of reconstruction, and a good portion -- more than 20% -- of the hotel space has yet to be refurbished. That means that there's plenty of reason for traffic to be even worse than it is.
International traffic to Cancun, the biggest chunk of ASUR's revenue pie, dropped 10.8% for the month, while Cozumel took a 23% dive. But an 11.2% increase in domestic traffic at Cancun helped buoy the totals.
I continue to believe there may be some lag between the end of the rebuild and the return of tourists because of slow catch-up in public perception, but I do know that the tourists will be back. You can find a little more support for that self-evident thesis by watching the carriers. Continental Airlines
ASUR has already proved it's a survivor, staying firmly in the black despite last year's bad news, and the recent pessimism for all stocks foreign -- no matter how great or small -- gives investors another opportunity for some solid international exposure. I've always said that I love the travel industry, as I think it's a long-term grower, but I hate most of the businesses in it -- because ticketers like Expedia.com
That leaves airports with the best moats in the space. Of course, a pronounced economic slump in the U.S. could put downward pressure on vacation travel, which is the major growth lever for ASUR, but that, too, shall pass -- if it ever comes to pass. Investing is about getting in before the turnarounds are priced in. You can sweat the timing, or you can learn to say "good enough."
Or if you want to lay low and leave the stock alone completely, hey, that's fine with me, too. I recommended this stock in our international report, Around the World in 80 Minutes, and I still believe it's a good buy anywhere under $36 a share. I'm always on the lookout for more of this good, cheap thing, because sooner or later, I expect it to fly.
If you like the looks of ASUR, Motley Fool Hidden Gems has a similar stock in its stable. A free trial will let you take a look at the what and why.
Seth Jayson hopes to check out the Cancun airport in the near future -- a research trip only. At the time of publication, he had shares of ASUR but no positions in any other company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.
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