Schiff’s China Picks, Part II — Electricity and Construction

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, April 27, 2010

I started writing about Peter Schiff’s new “special report” last week, so today it’s time to finish up on that before I forget — you can see the original article and the first two ideas here, and now we’ll move along to cover Companiess three and four that were teased out for us in the report …

“Company #3 designs, manufactures and sells electricity transformers to independent power producers in China. In 2006, the company leveraged its technology to produce transformers for the wind power market. In addition to its core business, this company has recently secured its first large wind turbine customer and is in testing with another potential customer that could provide meaningful growth in the next several years.

“This company is run conservatively with minimal debt and positive free cash flow. Although it possesses a growth profile, the company also pays a dividend. despite strong performance in 2009, we feel the company remains attractively valued.”

This, according to the clues and the chart they provide, must be: Jinpan International (JST)

This one’s a bit of a surprise — it actually is technically a US company and trades primarily in the US, (though their operations are all in China) so having Euro Pacific buy it for you wouldn’t really add any value (and it would probably add some substantial cost, depending on what your current broker charges).

JST has come up once or twice in this space before — it was teased by the Hidden Gems folks a little over a year ago, when it was much more attractively priced (it got as low as $5 in the collapse, it’s back up above $20 now), but it’s still quite decently priced based on earnings, a PE of 10 or 11 at the moment, and they even pay a minuscule dividend (yield is well under 1%). As with many of the Motley Fool favorites, this one also gets covered to death on their free website.

Jinpan, though still quite small with a market cap of about $350 million, is one of the largest manufacturers of cast resin transformers in the world, and the business has gotten a significant boost, particularly in China, thanks to updated and more stringent safety codes that favor these safer transformers over older designs. And yes, they do also sell equipment into the wind power generation market, though that’s still a fairly small piece of the business. There’s a good, concise investor presentation available on their website [pdf file] if you’d like to see an overview.

Next?

These are the clues I shared with you when I wrote the first article about Schiff’s picks …

“As an industry leader in the manufacturing of the customized machinery that facilitates elevated road and railway construction, Company #4 offers a unique approach to investing in China infrastructure.

“It provides bespoke solutions for major construction projects such as bridges and highways, including carriers for moving heavy loads, marine hoists, and other infrastructure construction and inspection equipment. One of its most innovative solutions is a concrete pre-fabrication technique that greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to build elevated road beds and bridges.

“From 2008 to 2009, the company saw a year-over- year revenue growth of more than 23%.”

But there was also a bit more:

“To keep its competitive edge, Company #4 focuses on a business development strategy of continuous product innovation, production capacity expansion, domestic market presence, global market penetration, and accretive acquisition.

“With Company #4’s recent primary listing on an American exchange and very limited trading history, the company’s performance could be severely impacted by initial financial releases in its first months. The company also is subject to economic and political risk as well as any potential failings of its proprietary construction technologies.”

This one, which I’m thankful to have been pointed to by a longtime reader, is the most obscure of the Schiff picks this time around: The oddly-named Wowjoint Holdings, owner of the Beijing Wowjoint Manufacturing Co., and they do indeed have a primary US listing, though it’s over the counter on the bulletin board at ticker WJHCF (click here for the free trend analysis from MarketClub, one of my advertising partners … the trend is surprisingly positive, despite the fall earlier this year). They were formerly called China Fundamental Acquisition Corp but changed their name very recently, and according to their filings they have also applied for a Nasdaq listing.

This firm is indeed a leading supplier of a lot of the wacky looking construction equipment used for bridge building, including specially engineered gantries and lots of stuff that I couldn’t possibly identify but that looks really big and important. The company is quite tiny, however — as of the investor presentation they filed a few weeks back with the SEC, they had a market cap of about $50 million. This one might warrant some deeper digging, however, because they’re projecting net income for this year of as much as $12.5 million — you don’t have to do very complicated math to see that 50/12.5 gets you a forward PE of 4, which is obviously very low even if you do expect to get a discount price for a tiny, speculative and probably very cyclical stock. You can get the basic rundown on the company (and I do mean basic) from that investor presentation.

The stock ran up nicely last year to about $8, but it fell right back down in 2010 and it now trades for right around where it was during the late 2008 collapse, about $6.50, so clearly there’s some concern about the company among investors — I haven’t yet read up enough to know what the company specific concerns might be, other than a heavy reliance on big infrastructure projects in China and a relatively short corporate history and strong insider control (insiders own more than 50% of the stock), but with a knocked down price like this something doesn’t compute: with a valuation like this you’d have to assume that either folks just don’t know about the company yet, or it’s too small to be taken seriously, or there’s something stinky in the books or way too much optimism in the projected numbers.

So that’s a quick rundown of the balance of Schiff’s ideas — I find myself drawn to most of these names, but that might just reflect my weakness for relatively obscure and cheaply-valued Chinese stocks, a weakness that could easily crush a portfolio if too heavily indulged. I am, at least, glad to hear about a new stock today in Wowjoint that I think I’ll have to read up on a bit more — if anything strikes you as interesting or terrifying, or anything in between, or if you’ve got your own Chinese stimulus and infrastructure stocks to share, just let us know with a comment below. Thanks!


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10 Comments on "Schiff’s China Picks, Part II — Electricity and Construction"

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Fabian
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Fabian
April 27, 2010 6:23 pm

Beware, the Chinese market is on a downtrend. It can make new highs even though their economy is showing huge growth.

Chinaplays
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Chinaplays
April 27, 2010 8:13 pm

I invested in netflix when it was 24$ and sold it shortly thereafter. Should have held on to it 100$ today. Off topic but had to comment since netflix is advertised on this site. China though is suppose to grow huge 10 cities the size of NYC by 2020. Construction companies should be a good play.

walli
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walli
April 28, 2010 3:28 am

"But for my new recommendation — the junior mining company operating in Idaho's prolific Boise Basin — I'm expecting it will catch on in far less time."

Does anyone know what the Idaho Gold stock is that he's referring to?

stockcrazy10
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April 28, 2010 4:13 am
Madharry
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Madharry
April 28, 2010 8:31 am

the companies presentation notes that in addition to the 7.9 m shares or so there are 7.25 m warrants at $5 outstanding. so not sure this is great value even if the do achieve projected earnings for next year for a cyclical company.

darrell
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darrell
April 28, 2010 12:49 pm

walli, I believe you might be looking for SNS.v. They are moving towards production on silver and gold properties.

Alberto
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Alberto
April 28, 2010 10:20 am

If this is in fact Mr Schiff’s recommendation I must say that
Jinpan International (JST) is’t looking too good today (2010/04/28). Down +23%

Crocketts
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Crocketts
April 28, 2010 3:27 pm

Silk Road Investor? Any comments?

guest
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guest
April 30, 2010 3:34 pm

I own a lot of the Wowjoint warrants. Wowjoint got approved for Nasdaq yesterday: http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1429360/000114

Gravity Switch
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April 28, 2010 5:00 pm

Indeed, that's one of the nastiest earnings misses I've seen in a while — earnings far lower than a year ago, comments about new, smaller competitors pressuring prices and sales … Haven't dug into this stock very much yet, but today's pre-release certainly muddies the field. They say they're still \”comfortable\” with the projections they made for the year, which would mean to me that future quarters need to be substantially better than this one. Still up about 100% from last year's lows.

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