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China Mobile Limited: A Stalwart With Solid Market Position – Seeking Alpha

China Mobile Limited: A Stalwart With Solid Market Position – Seeking Alpha

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As a result of its progress prospects associated to its enlargement into IoT, cloud computing, and large knowledge, we consider China Cellular Restricted (CHL) is a purchase for comparatively conservative, long-term buyers. Buyers on the lookout for main double-digit progress may have to think about different alternatives, however for affected person buyers accepting excessive single-digit low double-digit progress whereas amassing a four% dividend, China Cellular is value consideration.

China Cellular is a state-owned telecom service supplier with operations in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Pakistan, and the UK. Its service by means of mainland China makes it the most important telecom firm in China in addition to the world, by market capitalization in addition to by the whole variety of subscribers (925 million).

The agency was initially included in Hong Kong in 1997, which nonetheless stays its headquarters at the moment. China Cellular sports activities a robust 60% market share with solely two rivals, who’re state-owned as properly. The corporate operates 2G/3G/4G wi-fi community with substantial market share and is the aspirational frontrunner to increase the upcoming 5G community as properly, with its checks starting in June 2020.

The federal government of Individuals’s Republic of China is the last word majority holder of the corporate by way of China Cellular Communications Group Co., Ltd. (previously often known as CMCC), which holds 72.72% stake in China Cellular, whereas the remaining is public possession. The corporate is listed on NYSE in addition to HKEX/SEHK (Inventory Trade of Hong Kong).

Supply: China Cellular Web site

  • Market Cap: $204.three billion
  • Worth: $49.90
  • P/E: 11.22x
  • P/B: 1.3x
  • D/E: zero.0x
  • Dividend Yield: four.14%
  • Sector: Communication Providers
  • Business: Telecommunication

Supply: Morningstar

Funding Thesis

The corporate has proven consolidation in progress in recent times with solely a slight enchancment within the ARPU resulting from China Cellular’s wider deployment of 4G tech in rural China. The corporate holds a rock-solid market place with solely two associated corporations, China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) and China Unicom (CHU), to compete with, because the Chinese language market stays primarily protected barring any outdoors gamers.

China Cellular inventory trades at an reasonably priced 12x P/E and 1.3x P/B. The corporate has no debt, and an investor has the safety of understanding it’s government-backed and large in measurement. It pays a good-looking dividend which presently yields four.14% at at the moment’s worth of $49.90.

With the technique to deploy 5G community tech prematurely and leveraging future tech like IoT, the corporate is believed to maintain up with present progress ranges even with its measurement. We advocate an funding in China Cellular for long-term, comparatively conservative buyers on the lookout for robust, constant progress and a wholesome dividend.

Quantitative Elementary Evaluation

Supply: Morningstar

The typical year-on-year progress for income is 7.75% for the final decade, a suitable quantity for an operation of its scale. Nevertheless, internet revenue has not proven the identical progress, rising at a mean of simply 2.76%.

Let’s dive additional into the three pillars of the corporate’s financials.


Supply: Morningstar

Profitability measures the power of an organization to generate revenue from the top-line. China Cellular has had a robust internet revenue margin, with the newest at 15.77%. Current years have proven some consolidation and leveling off; we anticipate the web margin to stay at 15-16% ranges. ROE and ROIC have averaged 11.78% and 10.47%, respectively.

Money Move Effectivity

Supply: Morningstar

China Cellular has not been profitable in persistently rising its free money movement, however it does proceed to generate plenty of money annually – having been money movement constructive yearly for the previous decade. China Cellular’s enterprise is sort of capital-intensive, which has lowered its free money move as of late.

The corporate has executed some capex reductions in recent times and expects about 10% additional discount in 2019 because of the upcoming 5G trials and pre-commercialization. This could result in enchancment in its free money stream progress and era.

Monetary Well being

China Cellular has a robust stability with no debt and almost sufficient money to repay its complete liabilities. The corporate sustains a present ratio of above 1x, a present ratio of about 1x, and zero% debt/fairness ratio.

Supply: Morningstar

Market State of affairs

Firstly, China Cellular dominates the Chinese language community service market with about 52% of the full service income. Because the determine under (firm presentation for FY18) dictates, China Cellular has 60% market share within the wi-fi/cellular community, and 41.5%, 38.5% in family broadband and company market, respectively.

China Cellular ARPU for cellular is 53.1 RMB, and for broadband phase, it’s 33.5RMB. Each figures are greatest amongst its rivals. Cellular ARPU decreased this previous yr universally resulting from Chinese language authorities capping 4G service tariffs.

Supply: Firm Presentation

China Cellular competes with solely two rivals who threaten its place within the wi-fi/cellular market who once more are government-backed; China Unicom with 21% share, and China Telecom with 19% share. The rivals have captured some market share within the current years, however China Cellular compensates by growing the share within the broadband market and is increasing into rising tech like IoT, cloud computing, and large knowledge companies.

We anticipate China Cellular to stay a dominant participant in general income share on account of progress in broadband ARPU and by leveraging rising tech because it has the benefit of the very best rural market penetration.


Mr. YANG Jie, Government Director & Chairman

Mr. Jie, aged 56 is the newly appointed chairman of the corporate, taking the place on March four, 2019, changing Mr. Shang Bing who was on the board since 2015. Mr. Jie additionally changed Shang Bing because the chairman of the China Cellular majority holder CMCC. The corporate has said the retirement age of Mr. Bing being the rationale to switch him. Yang Jie has served numerous greater administration positions in state-backed enterprises like President and Chairman of China Telecommunications Company and Chairman and Chief Government Officer of China Telecom Company Restricted (China Cellular’s main rival). He’s a graduate with majors in radio engineering from Beijing College of Posts and Telecommunications and has earned a doctorate in enterprise administration from the ESC Rennes Faculty of Enterprise.

Mr. Li Yue, Government Director & CEO

Aged 58, Li Yue holds the submit of CEO and is liable for every day operations, improvement and execution of enterprise technique. He joined the board in 2003 and was appointed CEO in 2010. He too has served posts in establishments like Vice President of CMCC and Chairman of Union Cellular Pay Restricted. Mr. Li holds a Bachelor’s diploma in phone change from the Correspondence School of Beijing College of Posts and Telecommunications, a Grasp’s diploma in enterprise administration from Tianjin College and a doctoral diploma in enterprise administration from Hong Kong Polytechnic College.

Mr. DONG Xin, Government Director, Vice President & CFO

Mr. Xin is the first handler of the monetary affairs of the corporate that features company affairs, finance, inner audit, authorized issues, investor relations, human assets and IT of the Firm. He’s aged 51 and joined the board in March 2017. He has held numerous positions on the CMCC and holds a Bachelor’s diploma from Beijing College of Posts and Telecommunications in 1989, a Grasp’s diploma in monetary and accounting administration from Australian Nationwide College, and a Doctoral diploma in enterprise administration collectively issued by Shanghai Jiao Tong College and ESC Rennes Faculty of Enterprise, France.

Inventory Catalysts

Rising Know-how Enterprise

China Cellular has strategically expanded into the next rising tech: Web-of-Issues, ICT, cloud applied sciences, and large knowledge. This could permit it to maintain up its progress. The corporate faces competitors from extra personal corporations in these areas, however the R&D division has been aggressive to maintain up with its rivals. The corporate presentation for the fiscal yr ending in 2018 exhibits the super progress in these segments.

Supply: Firm presentation

IoT enterprise revenues are up 40.2% YoY, whereas the general share of revenues for rising enterprise hiked from 7% to about 9%. The corporate expects big progress on this phase with growing acceptability and reducing prices of the tech. China Cellular has a aggressive benefit over rivals on this space because it has the very best community penetration with availability in all 31 provinces (China Cellular community is even out there on Mount Everest).

5G Deployment

Subsequent comes 5G, the place once more China Cellular’s R&D division has been actively researching its personal tech gear for the next-gen communication. For 3G and 4G, the corporate has used TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE know-how up to now, however 5G is claimed to be an entire new recreation which is but to be tried commercially. China Cellular will start its business trials in 2020 with required rational capex in 2019. 5G deployment will once more present an enormous aggressive benefit with rivals having lag in tech acquisition and compatibility points. Additionally, 5G would enhance the ARPU and therefore the general top-line progress.


Competitors and Restructuring

As talked about earlier, China Cellular faces comparatively robust competitors from China Telecom and China Unicom which has turned fierce and aggressive after the 4G enlargement and the federal government’s “excessive velocity and decrease tariff” coverage implementation. The coverage change has led to ARPU fall and therefore improve within the competitors to maintain the top-line progress intact. Aside from that, it’s speculated that the federal government intends to merge China Telecom and China Unicom right into a single entity which can show a constructive on account of a rise in synergies.

Political Elements

The federal government’s “excessive velocity and decrease tariff” coverage was one of many key occasions that led to a drop in ARPU. The capex for 4G deployment was excessive and such coverage change decreased the return on funding. Such coverage modifications and disruptions stay a important danger to the longer term progress of China Cellular.

The Backside Line

China Cellular is a top quality firm with a rock-solid market place. The comparatively low P/E of 11.22x and P/B of 1.3x is a sign of its low progress on each the highest line and backside line. Nevertheless, given the corporate’s transfer in the direction of rising applied sciences resembling IoT, cloud computing, and large knowledge, there are new avenues for greater progress on the horizon. It’s also buying and selling barely under its 5-year common valuation metrics and a bit under its business common on a P/E and P/B ratio. A reversion to the imply on these metrics would offer upside for buyers at in the present day’s worth.

Supply: Morningstar

The political danger of a state-owned enterprise is one which buyers ought to definitely control, however it additionally offers buyers with some draw back safety. An funding in China Cellular is beneficial for reasonably risk-averse buyers with a want to gather constant revenue by way of a dividend. An investor on the lookout for a high-growth alternative could also be intrigued by China Cellular’s transfer into 5G networks, which can, actually, present a robust progress lever, however because of the firm’s measurement, will probably be troublesome for a progress investor to acquire enough funding returns.

Disclosure: I/we’ve no positions in any shares talked about, and no plans to provoke any positions inside the subsequent 72 hours. I wrote this text myself, and it expresses my very own opinions. I’m not receiving compensation for it (aside from from In search of Alpha). I’ve no enterprise relationship with any firm whose inventory is talked about on this article.

Further disclosure: Though we do vital analysis and due diligence, we aren’t all the time proper with our predictions or suggestions. This additionally applies to our grammar; please excuse any typos you could discover. This text is free to readers with the aim of aiding with analysis, whereas additionally offering a discussion board for second-level considering and dialogue. This text is for instructional functions solely; we now have not thought-about your particular state of affairs and we aren’t your funding fiduciary.

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