Ah, pessimism and fear . how much money have you made for me over the years? I confess that I haven't made any money from China Mobile
Investors may recall that the big fears last year for this huge Chinese cell-phone company concerned slowing growth and high spending needs. Well, growth is slowing some, and the company will have to spend money on new gear for the eventual rollout of its 3G product, but that doesn't mean its story no longer has appeal.
Looking at first-half results, we see that revenue rose nearly 20%, EBITDA climbed 25%, and net earnings increased 26% to a bit less than $4 billion. The company does not break out its information on a quarterly basis, but doing a little quick math suggests that profits were up about 24% in the second quarter -- not a bad result for a "slowing" company whose subscriber base is close to the entire population of the United States. Moreover, the company continues to add more than 4 million new subs -- roughly the population of the Detroit metro area -- each month.
So here you have a well-run company with a clean balance sheet in a fast-growing country, along with a nearly neutered competitor in China Unicom
A 50% gain in the past year makes me a little more cautious on China Mobile. That's particularly true when there are other options like Japan's NTT DoCoMo
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).