Bitauto -- the Chinese operator of a popular auto-related website -- soared 22% last week after Oppenheimer boosted its price target on the shares.
A week earlier it was Kandi's time to shine, also soaring 22% after the electric-vehicle maker completed the purchase of certain assets for electric-vehicle production. Kandi had popped 23% higher the week before that after China's State Council introduced financial incentives in order to promote electric vehicles.
The financial incentives to wean China's drivers off of gas-fueled vehicles are substantial. We're talking about $9,800 for all-electric passenger cars and $81,700 for electric buses.
China's automotive market is growing -- up 13.5% in the past three months -- and there are air quality concerns in the country's largest cities.
Bitauto may not be as scintillating a play as Kandi with its push into electric passenger cars, but let's not dismiss the website that offers auto information throughout China. As car sales surge and the economy's improving to the point where Chinese drivers can pay more for new cars, it's only natural to see automakers open to paying more to smoke out leads. This is welcome news for Bitauto, explaining why Oppenheimer analyst Andy Yeung juiced up his price target on the shares from $15 to $20.
So, can Bitauto and Kandi keep it up?
Yeung feels that Bitauto can grow at a 30% annualized clip for several more years, and that's essentially where the pros are perched these days. Wall Street's consensus calls for Bitauto's revenue to climb 36% this year and another 29% come 2014. Bitauto kicks off the new trading week at 18 times next year's projected earnings, and that's a significant discount to its current growth rate.
It gets better. Bitauto has trounced expectations by 13% or better every single quarter over the past year. In other words, analysts may be underestimating Bitauto's forward earnings, driving its multiple lower. The stock has more than quadrupled over the past year, but no one at the time thought that it would be earning as much as it is these days. Bitauto should continue to beat the market until analysts finally catch up to the dot-com speedster's potential.
Kandi doesn't have the same kind of clear path to beating the market at Bitauto, but its potential is even greater. China has made it clear that it wants more electric vehicles on the road, and if Kandi can establish itself as a leading player we're talking about a company worth far more than its sub-$300 million market cap. Kandi still has a lot to prove, but patient investors should continue to be rewarded as electric car battery modules get cheaper and the vehicles gain in popularity.
2 More Plays for China's Red-Hot Auto Market
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