How To Profit From China’s Energy Crisis

| October 22, 2009 | 0 Comments

China’s strong economic growth is well documented.  Their economy has been growing at a better than 10% average annual rate for decades.  This extraordinarily fast growth has vaulted China’s economy to third largest in the world.

But, all this growth has come with a heavy price.

The skies over China are now some of the most heavily polluted in the world.  Two-thirds of the 338 Chinese cities that measure air quality suffer from moderate to severe air pollution.  And, acid rain falls on 30% of the country.

One of the biggest contributors to China’s air pollution problem is coal burning furnaces.  China is the largest consumer of coal worldwide.  They use it to generate 70% of the country’s electricity and to power their many factories.

Thanks to all this coal burning, China is now the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases.

China’s rapid economic growth has also led to another problem.

They don’t have enough electricity-generating capacity to sustain their growth.  The International Energy Agency estimates China needs to add more than 1,300 GW of electricity-generating capacity to keep pace with demand.

That’s about the same size as the entire U.S. power grid!

The Chinese government recognizes the magnitude of these problems.  Now, they’re starting to do something about them.

China’s energy policy now promotes improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions.  Specifically, the government endorses greater use of distributed power generation (DPG) systems and renewable energy sources.

DPG systems are simply combined heat and power systems.  They have a coal-fired boiler to produce heat for driving industrial processes as well as a steam turbine and generator to generate electricity.

These systems are remarkably energy efficient.  They convert an amazing 90% of fuel used into useful power and heat.  That compares to efficiency levels of just 30% to 40% for traditional coal-fueled power plants.

Many factories in China that buy power from the national grid also burn coal to generate heat.  By using a DPG system, a factory can generate its own electricity and heat.  This helps reduce emissions and energy costs significantly.

The Chinese government believes DPG systems are essential to its energy policy.  Their goal is to have 22% of China’s total power capacity come from DPG systems by 2020 (up from 12% in 2005).

Another top-priority for the Chinese government is generating more energy from wind power.

They plan on spending $260 billion to expand China’s wind power capacity from 12.8 GW today to 100 GW by 2020.  In addition, they’ve enacted a series of preferential policies and tax incentives to stimulate the growth of the domestic wind power industry.

So, how can we profit from these trends?

A terrific small-cap growth company, A-Power Energy Generation Systems (APWR), is positioned to benefit from both of them.

APWR engages in two lines of business.

First, they’re the largest private provider of onsite DPG systems in China.  They’ve completed 17 systems since business inception.  And, they have another 17 projects under construction in China and overseas.

APWR’s other line of business is manufacturing wind turbines.

With a massive 320,000 square foot manufacturing facility, APWR has total production capacity of 1.1 GW.  And, while most manufacturers in China are limited to producing smaller turbines, APWR is focusing on the larger, more advanced (and more profitable) turbines.

While APWR’s business is down due to the recession, it’s now starting to accelerate.  Just take a look at second quarter numbers compared to the first.

Revenue jumped 84% to $57.5 million.  Net income soared 298% to $6.25 million.  And, earnings per share nearly quadrupled to 19 cents.  These numbers would have been even bigger but some DPG projects were delayed.

For full year 2009, management expects $320 million in revenue and $32 million in net income.  That’s year over year growth of 22% and 12% respectively.

It’s important to understand the second quarter numbers are all from the DPG systems business.  The wind energy business had yet to be officially launched.

But, that’s about to change… in a big way.

APWR just signed two huge wind energy deals.

The first deal is to build a 49.5 MW wind farm in China’s Inner Mongolia region.  The project will start in October and be completed in June 2010.  The total contract value is a whopping $90.5 million.

Getting a foothold in Inner Mongolia is a big opportunity for APWR.  This region offers the most potential wind power capacity in China.  And, only 1.6 GW of the estimated 787 GW of exploitable wind power has been installed.

The sky’s the limit here!

The second deal is to develop a 19.5 MW wind farm in Shandong Province.  The project will begin in November 2009 and should be completed by November 2010.  The total contract value is $36.2 million.

As you can see, the wind energy business is off to a fast start.  I expect it to provide a big boost to APWR’s growth rates going forward.

In fact, explosive growth is forecast for 2010.

Analysts are expecting revenue to rocket 77% higher to $574 million.  And, they’re forecasting earnings per share to jump 53% to $1.30.

Despite this huge growth potential, APWR is significantly misvalued by the market.  Their forward P/E is just 9 times next year’s earnings estimate.  And, their PEG ratio is a meager 0.65.

Take a closer look at APWR for your own portfolio.  They’re a great way to play the long term trend in China toward more efficient and environmentally friendly energy.

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Category: Foreign Markets

About the Author ()

Robert Morris is the editor of Penny Stock All-Stars, an investment advisory focused on discovering small-cap and micro-cap stocks that are destined to become the market’s next Blue Chips. The Wall Street veteran and small-cap stock specialist is also a regular contributor to Penny Stock Research. Every week, Robert shares his thoughts with our readers on a variety of penny stock-related topics. In addition to Penny Stock Research, Robert also writes frequently for two other free financial e-letters, ETF Trading Research and the Dynamic Wealth Report. He’s also the editor of two highly successful and popular investment advisories, Biotech SuperTrader and China Stock Insider.

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