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When the disruptor becomes what it was trying to disrupt:

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When the disruptor becomes what it was trying to disrupt:

Old 23rd May 2019, 02:57
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When the disruptor becomes what it was trying to disrupt:

Good Evening All:


Taken from the Financial Post:

When the disruptor becomes what it was trying to disrupt: Lessons from WestJet's corporate flight path


Martin Pelletier: Canada needs to end this typical business success lifecycleTue May 21, 2019 - Financial Post by Martin Pelletier


It was a big week in the Canadian airline industry, starting with Onex Corp.’s agreement to acquire WestJet Airlines Ltd. for $3.5 billion, followed by Air Canada’s announcement that it has entered into exclusive talks to buy Transat A.T. Inc. for approximately $520 million.


There are a few important takeaways from the WestJet story that are representative of our overall business environment and the typical lifecycle of a Canadian success story.


It usually begins with a new entrant that has identified a low-cost, high-quality opportunity to disrupt an entrenched incumbent that has become accustomed to operating within a highly regulated and protected industry. Initial growth can be quite rapid as consumers jump on board this exciting new service offering, but over time, unfortunately, it often ends with the disruptor slowly turning into what it was trying to disrupt in the first place.



The reason: there is limited foreign capital willing to backstop what could be a nasty fight for market share among a few incumbents, or for funding a global expansion, especially when the company has disconnected with the disruptive culture it was founded upon.



As a result, financial results can only disappoint for so long before the white flag is raised via a monetization event involving one of the other incumbents or, in this particular case, a Canadian private-equity investor eagerly looking to enter the industry.


Taking a closer look at WestJet, it hit the ground running out of the gate by fostering a Western Canadian entrepreneurial culture from the ground up and directing it towards disrupting what has historically been one of the most difficult sectors to break into: the airline industry.


This meant undertaking a non-unionized, employee-empowered and customer-focused approach to doing business. Employees were also early shareholders and, therefore, acted like owners in their interactions with passengers as well as in keeping costs under control. It was a beautiful thing to watch.


This flight path worked amazingly well as consumers immediately flocked to this exciting new upstart. Following its launch in 1996, WestJet grew to employ more than 14,000 people, have a fleet of over 180 planes and fly to 100-plus global destinations. It also managed to grab 35 per cent of the domestic capacity market share, taking Air Canada down to approximately 50 per cent. Its international capacity market share increased to approximately 15 per cent, or half that of Air Canada’s position, according to industry researcher CAPA — Centre for Aviation.


Then something happened.


Having already captured a large share of the domestic low-cost travel market, the company appeared to hit a wall. Its growth profile was unable to effectively steal market share in other segments (international and trans-border bookings) from Air Canada and its strong loyalty program.


Meanwhile, rising costs resulted in margin compression and WestJet’s earnings before income taxes and return on invested capital, which peaked in 2015, have tumbled along with its share price.


For example, despite the recent takeover offer at a 67-per-cent premium, the company’s share price is still only up 25 per cent over the past five years compared to the near 400-per-cent gain by Air Canada. As a side note, Transat’s return profile looks an awful lot like WestJet’s, as it, too, is only up 38 per cent over the same period.


This evolution really isn’t that unusual. We’ve witnessed the same story unfold in other oligopoly sectors such as wealth management, banking and wireless. That said, Canada needs to end this cycle if we want to start attracting foreign capital as well as become the launching pad for homegrown globally disruptive corporations to start taking off. .
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Old 23rd May 2019, 17:14
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How do you propose that the cycle be stopped?
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Old 23rd May 2019, 22:06
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For example, despite the recent takeover offer at a 67-per-cent premium, the company’s share price is still only up 25 per cent over the past five years compared to the near 400-per-cent gain by Air Canada. As a side note, Transat’s return profile looks an awful lot like WestJet’s, as it, too, is only up 38 per cent over the same period.
Except that neither WestJet nor Air Transat were recovering from bankruptcy during the same five year period.

Air Canada has done very well for itself through its restructuring, but for analysts to try and say this somehow hints that AC knows something WJ and AT don't is leading people down the wrong garden path. They've simply returned to profitability, and that's what the 400% increase is for - returning AC stock to the levels where it should be for a national carrier.

Adjusted for size and market share, I don't think the WJ and AT stock was doing that poorly (they are airline stocks after all!). I doubt in a stable 5-year environment where AC was not recovering from bankruptcy protection, where WJ was not about to be purchased by Onex, and where AT was not in buyout talks, that those three stocks would not have "awfully" similar rates of return.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 23:16
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Originally Posted by +TSRA View Post
Except that neither WestJet nor Air Transat were recovering from bankruptcy during the same five year period.
I saw that too but just let it slide without comment. Generally, this is a badly written and researched article. Or to quote Shakespeare, "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing."
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Old 27th May 2019, 15:53
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Welcome to Canada, where you pay higher prices for everything due to a lack of competition. Canadians are too complacent, we always throw shade on our American counterparts but they enjoy a different kind of freedom, ECONOMIC FREEDOM.
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Old 27th May 2019, 18:41
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Originally Posted by Foxdeux View Post
Welcome to Canada, where you pay higher prices for everything due to a lack of competition. Canadians are too complacent, we always throw shade on our American counterparts but they enjoy a different kind of freedom, ECONOMIC FREEDOM.
Freedom to have to choose between feeding your kids and having the heat on in January. Freedom to go into bankruptcy when grandma gets sick. Freedom to be denied decent job opportunities because of who you are.

Canada ain't perfect but that so-called freedom has cost many Americans plenty. It just isn't on the radar because they're not listed on the NYSE.
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Old 29th May 2019, 17:26
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Originally Posted by J.O. View Post
Freedom to have to choose between feeding your kids and having the heat on in January. Freedom to go into bankruptcy when grandma gets sick. Freedom to be denied decent job opportunities because of who you are.

Canada ain't perfect but that so-called freedom has cost many Americans plenty. It just isn't on the radar because they're not listed on the NYSE.
I agree, it is ridiculous that the U.S. still does not have federal healthcare and relies solely on the private sector. However aside from that, I think the U.S. is a better country overall than Canada in terms of opportunities and not getting screwed over by oligopolies under the guise of the Canadian way of doing business. Your statement on Freedom to be denied decent job opportunities because of who you are is misguided, I see that a lot in Canada. The fact that we have a population of 37 million people compared to the 327 million people down south makes competition that much worse in Canada. Don't get me wrong, I love Canada and its people but we can virtue signal all we want but it's not going to pay the bills.
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