China Shoto - is this share right for value investors?

Thursday, Dec 17 2009 by

China Shoto ought to tick a lot of value investor boxes. It's on a PER of nine, it pays dividends, has a strong earnings record (despite a blip in 2006) and is projected to continue to grow its earnings, and has cash on the balance sheet. At the same time, its exposure to the high growth Chinese market ought to make it attractive to growth focused investors.

It's a nice, boring business too - the kind I like, not a sexy tech story but a good operating business with a product that is in strong demand.

China Shoto makes batteries. Not just any old Duracells: the majority of its business is in back-up batteries for the telecoms market. It's benefited from strong capital expenditure in the domestic market as the three Chinese telcos invest in infrastructure. The company has a 20 percent market share at home, and has also been exporting strongly to India.

These batteries deal with the problems of fluctuating or intermittent power supply - so they are ideal for emerging markets. India could be a huge market if China Shoto gets it right, old rivalries between the two countries notwithstanding, though it slowed in the first half of this year. But for the short term, it appears to be growth in the domestic market which will have the main impact on the company's profits - it will take a few years for exports to challenge that.

The secondary product line, electric bike batteries, could also see strong growth, but the company has focused on the telecoms market which delivers much higher margins.

Now I did say this was not one of those sexy technology stories. Actually that's not completely true - green energy storage might eventually be an important area for the company. But that's not for the short term - and at the moment, it doesn't look as if investors are paying anything for the longer term prospects.

All looks good so far. Let's take a look at the 2009 interims [1] . Again, growth looks good; 41% growth in revenues. That's 52% growth in back-up batteries, accounting for over 90% of total revenue, while power batteries sales decreased 31% - suggesting, though the company doesn't say so explicitly, that it's now up against capacity constraints. That comes through to a 43% increase in profit…

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2 Comments on this Article show/hide all

Fangorn 22nd Jun '10 1 of 2

China Shoto revenue and profitability down 15%

Stock off 34% @ 222. has been as low as 202 this morning.

Anyone watching this lil chesnut?

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Fangorn 16th Aug '10 2 of 2

Latest trading statement.

Grim reading - profits warning, factory closure. Decline of 11% in revenue and 12% profitability in 6months to June forecast.

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About valueinvestor


I spent fifteen years working in the City as an analyst - now, I spend my time looking after my own portfolio and working as a writer.  I reckon I've probably looked at more than a thousand annual reports in varying degrees of detail over the years and I've noticed that useful information is often in inverse proportion to the size of the report! Very much a believer in value investing. more »

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