If they build it, they will come. When it comes to Sirius XM, it really is that simple. During the course of the last year or so, Sirius XM shares declined primarily on debt concerns and a declining U.S. auto market. Without exception, every Wall Street analyst cited these concerns as the reasoning behind their lowered price targets and downgrades in 2008.
With Sirius XM debt issues laid to rest, investors witnessed the equity's nearly 200% increase during the first quarter of 2009. This week brought with it news that the automakers themselves feel that the worst is now behind us. The annual estimated run rate of new cars increased substantially; from as low as 8.5 million to as high 10.5 million on the March sales data.
It stands to reason expectations for Sirius XM's future would be raised on this data, when considering that a 2 million unit increase for the auto sector translates into an increase of approximately 500,000 additional new subscribers in 2009, as compared to February estimates.
Adding to this improvement in the company's outlook is the Obama administration's plan to drive consumers into dealership showrooms and spur growth of the U.S. auto industry. One part of the plan involves a scrap program, which according Barclay's, as quoted by CNBC's Bob Pisani, "could boost U.S. sales by 3 million units." Another part of the plan offers tax incentives to boost new car sales as well.
These initiatives will inevitably increase the auto sales rate to nearly 14 million units this year alone. A 6.5 million unit increase from earlier estimates translates into an increase of 1,625,000 satellite radio subscribers, again from earlier estimates. These are not insignificant numbers. These are the numbers that add up to profitability for Sirius XM in 2009. It is only a matter of time before Wall street analysts jump on the proverbial bandwagon.
Position: Long Sirius XM