November 16, 2014 / 11:58 PM / in 3 years

After strong debut, Virgin America may be fully priced: Barron's

(Reuters) - After soaring more than 30 percent in its market debut on Friday, shares of low-cost airline Virgin America Inc may be fully priced, according to a report in Barron‘s.

Virgin America Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer David Cush (C) celebrates the company's initial public offering after ringing the opening bell of the trading session with NASDAQ President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Greifeld (2nd R) at the NASDAQ Market Site in New York, November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Like the rest of the airline industry, Virgin is being lifted by a sharp drop in oil prices that has pushed jet fuel costs down to about $2.40 a gallon from over $3, the weekly financial newspaper said in its latest edition.

“A profitable Virgin is benefiting from industry tail winds, but there appear to be better values elsewhere in the hot sector,” the report said.

With a small fleet and modest annual revenue, Virgin may have a tough time growing, Barron’s reported. It is expected to add five planes in 2015 and another five in 2016, but has none on order for the following years, it said.

Virgin America closed at $30 on Friday on Nasdaq, $7 above its IPO price of $23 after touching a high of about $31.19 during the session, valuing the airline at about $1.35 billion.

At the high, the stock traded 8.08 times 2013 earnings, compared with Southwest Airlines Co’s multiple of 37.43 and JetBlue Airways Corp’s 24.43.

Virgin America is the U.S. offshoot of billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson’s London-based Virgin Group, which is involved in airlines, railroads, telecommunications, media and hospitality.

Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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