“The Top Chinese Company on my Radar Right Now …”

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, September 24, 2009

That’s how Keith Fitz-Gerald describes the “China Winner #1” stock that he’s been teasing in a recent email.

The email is actually a good fun one, too — the copywriters were busy, with my favorite part being the headline:

To All the Panda-Bashers Out There:

“Shut the ‘H’ Up!

“Their rank ignorance has already cost investors 43 opportunities to double their money…

“And This Run is Just Getting Started…”

I can’t say that I’ve heard the term “Panda-Bashers” before, but I like it. Don’t tell my kids, they’ve got a love affair going with Tian Tian and Mei Xiang here at the National Zoo …

So Fitz-Gerald tells us that the China doubters have been wrong, and have cost investors huge profits — that’s certainly true over the past 9 months or so, as Chinese stocks have been on a ridiculous run … the same strong recovery we’ve seen in most other markets, just magnified a couple times.

He goes on to quote a few big investors who are still very much focused on China — including Warren Buffett, Marty Whitman, Jim Rogers, and Mark Mobius. I don’t know if they’re all jumping on the average China stock after this big run, but they are all certainly still buying there and looking for opportunities (though Whitman, in his last letter to his investors, did say that he had to cut off new investments in Hong Kong because it was already 40% of the Third Avenue Value Fund portfolio).

And he goes through a long list of China stocks that have at least doubled this year (of course, many of them fell by 80% or more last year, too, and are below their highs, but not all of them). He even includes footnotes, which is a bit of an oddity in the world of newsletter ads.

All of this, of course, in the interest of convincing you to take a test drive of the New China Trader, his newsletter that focuses on — wait for it — China. This is the most expensive China stock advisory I can think of off the top of my head — much more than Hsu’s China Strategy or Goodwin’s China and Emerging Markets Report, both of which are ranked reasonably well by my readers on the Reviews site. New China Trader has only one review, though it is a positive one, so I have no idea whether he’s worth $1,950 a year.

But I do know that we can identify his favorite stock for you from the teaser clues … free, naturally.

So what are the clues?

“My favorite company right now is a small privately held firm perfectly positioned for profit from one of China’s biggest concerns: energy.

“China’s growth is putting massive strains on their existing electrical grid – strains which are becoming a problem for a country that is relying on modernization to keep the economic engine humming.

“As many as 30 million Chinese in 28,000 villages still live without power and the Central Government is taking aggressive steps to get power to those people.

“The necessity for reliable power infrastructure and the opportunity to provide it should lead to big returns for the key players in this sector.

“Which is where my favorite pick comes in. This company is sitting on the leading edge in power-generation, and is one of the leading companies favored by China’s government.

“They are the largest provider of distributed generation (DG) systems in China, focusing on energy-efficient and environmentally friendly projects of 25MW to 400MW.

“In case you’re not familiar with DG technology, they are small-scale electricity production facilities that provide power to meet local demand.”

And we get a few more details that make things slightly more specific (and of course, tantalize us) …

“This company provides DG power throughout China with 17 existing facilities with average capacity of 5MW to 24 MW.

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“They are also building 10 additional plants in process.

“But here’s where things get interesting.

“This company is the only private company in China with a Class-A power system construction license.

“This makes them the only non-governmental entity that can build and maintain these DG plants… giving them a virtual lock on the industry….

“In 2008, they expanded into the wind energy market… and built China’s largest wind turbine manufacturing facility, located in Shenyang, Liaoning Province…with a total annual production capacity of 1,125MW.

“As we speak, they’re working hand in hand with the Chinese Science Academy to develop new energy technologies in wind, solar, magnetic, geothermal, tidal and biomass. When completed, they will own 70% rights to new technologies.

“China is very serious about renewable energy.

“A new Chinese initiative is set to increase wind energy output to 120 gigawatts by 2020. To meet this demand, this power company has been creating joint ventures with GE (GE), and foreign turbine makers such as Vestas and German Furlander Wind Generation.”

OK, so that’s a bucketful of clues — and the solution? A stock that I know several Gumshoe readers have been interested in in the past, A-Power (APWR)

This is a stock that looks quite cheap, and all those clues that sound tantalizing appear to be accurate … but though I hate to be a “panda-basher” I do need to note that it was possible to give yourself a coronary owning this stock last year, it hit about $30 last Summer before falling to about $3 at the market lows in November and March. At $10 now it seems like folks are finally getting a reasonable handle on the valuation, it trades at a trailing PE of about 13 and a forward PE of 8 which, if the analysts are right (their estimates were way too high in the last two quarters, so that is a genuine “if” even as they predict 50% earnings growth next year), is clearly a bargain for a stock in a growth industry. If that growth materializes, we’re looking at a Price/Earnings/Growth ratio of something like .25 for this year, or .55 for longer-term estimated growth rates (and where do those long-term growth rates come from? I wouldn’t argue with you if you used the word “guess” instead of “estimate”). Still, I keep coming back to the word “cheap.”

Unless, of course, the panda bashers are right — or their big investment in wind turbine capacity fails to pay off. Still, we can be reasonably certain that electricity demand in China will grow in the long term, despite some big dips as export demand fell over the past year, and we know that the government there is pushing wind and other renewable energy solutions, so the underlying “theme” of this investment is certainly reasonable.

And we’ve got a bonus for you today, because although most of these China stocks are falling precipitously as I type, I can tell you what some of Fitz-Gerald’s other “China Winners” are. APWR is the one he calls his favorite in the current ad, but he lists several more:

“China Winner #2

“This second China Winner is at the forefront of one of the most important aspects of China’s development… water treatment.

“Getting clean, safe, potable water to all of the people of China is a major challenge for the government….

“The products offered by China Winner #2 focus on addressing the key steps in the water treatment process: filtration, water softening, water-sediment separation, aeration, disinfection and reverse osmosis.

“Founded in 1989, they offer a comprehensive set of more than 80 complementary products across the following three product categories:

“Circulating Water Treatment Equipment.
“Water Purification Equipment.
“Wastewater Treatment Equipment.

“With over 80 distributors throughout China in 28 provinces, including most of China’s key economic regions, they believe their nationwide distribution network is one of the largest among water treatment equipment suppliers in China. This extensive network allows them to be closer to their end-user customers and enables them to be more responsive to local market demand than many of their competitors.”

This one is recent IPO Duoyuan Global Water (DGW). I know nothing about them, other than that Fitz-Gerald’s teased info appears accurate, and they don’t yet have much analyst coverage. They went public in the US at about $22 a share back in June, and the shares have dipped severely today but are still at about $32 — the Chinese water demand story is a big investing theme for many folks, including very vociferously Jim Rogers (I don’t know if he owns this stock or not), and I also think the theme makes sense, though I personally hold a different investment in the area (Just FYI that’s Hyflux Water Trust, a Singapore affiliate of Hyflux that owns Chinese water treatment plants — trades in Singapore, more of a yield play).

Moving on, let’s see if I can point out a couple more for you:

“China Winner #3

“China is quickly becoming the No.1 automotive market in the world and China Winner #3 provides a key component (steering columns) to multiple auto manufactures.

“Based in Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China, China Winner #3 is a leading supplier of power steering systems and components to China automotive industry, operating through nine subsidiaries.

“It has more than ten years experiences in power steering manufacturing. In 2008, the Company sold approximately 1.3 million systems and components compared with 1.1 million in 2007.

“China Winner #3 owns two trademarks covering automobile parts and twelve Chinese patents covering power steering technology. They have business relations with more than sixty vehicle manufacturers.”

This one is China Automotive Systems (CAAS), another stock I’ve never looked at before — it has also recovered dramatically over the past year, from the $2 lows back up to $10 or so, and is profitable, it trades at an estimated forward PE ratio of 13. There’s no way on earth I’d pay that for a US auto supplier, but certainly the Chinese market is the primary growth driver for personal automobiles in the world right now, so perhaps this will pay off as well. I’ve looked at a couple other auto companies in China this year, including BYD (Warren Buffett’s famous and probably over-exposed electric car investment) — wish I’d bought that one back when I mistakenly thought that it looked kind of expensive 400% ago, or that I’d had an allocation in US competitor A123 with their up-50% IPO today — and Wonder Auto, which is still about where it was when Navellier called it the best profit opportunity of the year.

Other than that? He tells us about China Winner #4, which he doesn’t try very hard to obscure, that’s the diesel engine maker China Yuchai (CYD).

So what do you think? Are you on board with calling APWR the best China idea right now? Are you a “Panda Basher?” Think any of these other picks or some yet unmentioned are better ideas for profiting from the Middle Kingdom? Let us know with a comment below.

And if you’ve tried the New China Trader, or any of the other foreign or China-focused newsletters, click here to add your reviews (or see what other folks thought). Thanks!

full disclosure: As noted above I own shares of Hyflux Water Trust. I also have money invested with Martin Whitman in the Third Avenue Value Fund, and I own shares of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. I do not have any interest in other investments mentioned above, and will not trade in any mentioned investment for at least three days per my rules.



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September 24, 2009 12:23 pm

Both (CAAS) and (APWR) were picked By Cabot earlier this year as hot small cap Chinese stocks.

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September 24, 2009 12:25 pm

The BYD is the the top holding of the Chinese small cap ETF

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September 24, 2009 3:29 pm

Top sleuthing! Respect.

September 24, 2009 6:51 pm

Sorry Everybody but I beat you to knowing it was apwr by 2 days. I like it but as yet havent bought any. I do appreciate and enjoy your newsletter and as soon as I actuall make some money I will sign up to be an irregular. Best of luck!