If investors believe that a company can become too big to remain a growth stock, China Mobile
In its latest earnings release, China's dominant mobile-services company showed unequivocally that the big can indeed get bigger. For the full year 2007, revenue grew 21% to $50.4 billion, while profits accelerated by 32% to $12.3 billion. The company added an average of 5.67 million new subscribers each month in 2007, with most of these coming from rural areas.
China Mobile absolutely dominates its closest competitor, China Unicom
China Mobile was also able to maintain its average revenue per user (ARPU) at $12.56 per month with value-added services that now make up 25.7% of its total revenue. The company reported that it sees great interest in mobile information products tailored toward customer groups in categories such as agriculture, finance, and business. Plans to launch further profitable services include introducing Research In Motion's
So if China Mobile's continued growth is all so great, why is the stock down 4% after the earnings release? It's been said here many times before -- China Mobile was reasonably priced before its big run-up, but it now stands as one of the pricier Chinese plays. At a current earnings multiple of about 26, China Mobile is still a bit above fair price for its 21% projected future growth. With this type of performance, I'd be tempted to pick up shares if they fall down into the mid-$50 range, but somehow, I doubt the market will let that happen anytime soon.
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Fool contributor Dave Mock dances like a white guy. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Apple is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy is printed on recycled paper.