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Air Lease (AL) Strong on Dividends Amid Lease Demand Weakness

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We recently issued an updated report on Air Lease Corporation (AL - Free Report) .

We are impressed by Air Lease’s endeavors to reward its shareholders. In fact, the company has an impressive dividend payment history. In November 2020, its board approved a 7% hike in its quarterly cash dividend to 16 cents per share (annualized 64 cents). This raise marked the 8th dividend increase in the company’s history. The decision to hike the quarterly dividend amid the current scenario is highly commendable.

We are also encouraged by the impressive revenues from rentals of flight equipment. Revenues in the segment rallied 17.5% in 2019 and led to a 20% improvement in the company’s top line. Despite this coronavirus-ravaged scenario, the metric rose 3.6% in the first nine months of 2020 and led to a 3.9% increase in the top line.

Meanwhile, the fortunes of Air Lease are tied to the airline industry. Given the impact of the coronavirus on the airline industry, in terms of declining air traffic, Air Lease is experiencing weakness in lease demand. Companies deferring aircraft deliveries to cope with the crisis are also exerting pressure on the company. Its collection rate (total cash collected from lease rentals and maintenance reserves) also declined substantially.

Rising operating expenses are a threat to the company's bottom line. Notably, operating expenses increased 8.3% in the first nine months of 2020.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Air Lease currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Zacks Transportation sector are Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (KNX - Free Report) , FedEx Corporation (FDX - Free Report) and Herc Holdings Inc. (HRI - Free Report) .  Knight-Swift and Herc Holdings sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while FedEx carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term expected earnings per share (three to five years) growth rate for Knight-Swift, FedEx and Herc Holdings is pegged at 15%, 12% and 12.6%, respectively.

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