CITIC Pacific expected to show 79pc gain in year

ANALYSTS are forecasting 79 per cent growth in CITIC Pacific's net profit to $1.86 billion for last year, with earnings per share up 23 per cent to $1.07.

This places the stock on a 20.56 times price-earnings ratio in 1993 and 17.05 in 1994, giving it a prospective yield of 1.6 per cent in 1993 and two per cent in 1994.

CITIC Pacific is probably one of the most exciting stocks on the Hang Seng Index, with strategic holdings in some of the territory's most important companies.

The stock marries mainland ownership under the Communist Party State Council with the China International Trust and Investment Corp (CITIC).

The company has also built strategic alliances with some of Hong Kong's most important companies including Cheung Kong (Holdings), Swire Pacific and Wharf (Holdings).

Since March 1990, according to Bloomberg data, it has outperformed the Hang Seng Index by 150 per cent, with an annualised compound return of 50 per cent a year, having risen 355 per cent in price and almost 400 per cent including dividends.

Last year, it underperformed the index by 26 per cent. Similarly it has underperformed by 27 per cent in the last 12 months and on the year to date it is down 19 per cent, against a 23 per cent drop in the index.

Group parent CITIC Hong Kong has been investing in the territory for more than a decade.

In February 1990, the parent bought 51 per cent of CITIC Pacific, formerly known as Tylfull.

Tylfull was incorporated in 1985 and listed in February 1986 after taking over the listing of property investment and development group Sun King Fung Development.

It injected 38.3 per cent of Hong Kong Dragon Airlines into the listed vehicle.

More than a year later, in August 1991, it changed its name to CITIC Pacific and sold 12.5 per cent of Cathay Pacific Airways to the group in a $2.86 billion deal.

A month later, CITIC Pacific took over Dah Chong Hong, one of the largest privately-owned Chinese hongs, for $2 billion in a placement.

In the largest corporate cash-raising in the history of the stock exchange, CITIC Pacific raised $7.1 billion in a placement as part of a deal estimated at $11.4 billion.

The company took up 12 per cent of Hongkong Telecom from its parent and bought into a chemical waste plant stake along with two power stations in China.

In March last year, the group extended its relationship with Swire Pacific, the parent of Cathay.

It teamed up with Swire at a public auction to buy a 1.2 million sq ft (gross floor area) commercial site at Yau Yat Chuen for $2.85 billion.

The project, taking four years to complete, will be held as an investment property.

The franchise for the $7.5 billion Western harbour tunnel crossing was awarded in July last year to a consortium involving the group.

Members of the consortium are CITIC HK (25 per cent), CITIC Pacific (10 per cent), Kerry Holdings (15 per cent), Wharf's Cross-Harbour Tunnel Co (37 per cent) and China Merchants Group (13 per cent).

The project is due for completion in four years.

A month later, the Junk Bay landfill project was awarded to another consortium involving CITIC.

The consortium comprised CITIC Pacific (30 per cent), Sun Hung Kai Properties (20 per cent) and Waste Management (50 per cent).

The shareholder make-up of the group is CITIC HK (41 per cent), Kerry Group (13 per cent), the directors (10 per cent) and 36 per cent in public hands.

Cheung Kong chairman Li Ka-shing also has a shareholding.

CITIC Pacific, led by chairman Larry Yung Chi-kin, is fast becoming an influential company in the territory, whose importance will grow before and after 1997.

Its management has gained a credible reputation. The transactions undertaken so far have generally been regarded by institutions as fair to all shareholders.

In many cases, earnings per share have been enhanced by the activity.

Some observers are still critical of the group for its lack of hands-on management in operating its businesses.

The proliferation of strategic stakes, some argue, give it the characteristics of an investment holding company. Therefore it should trade at a discount to net asset value, estimated at $21.77 a share on an appraised basis.

Nevertheless the group is still in the fast-growth phase of development and its prospects look encouraging.

CITIC Pacific has strategic stakes in just about every major activity in Hong Kong.