Morningstar analysts say that "despite the global recession, the country's electricity usage continues growing at double-digit rates, and we expect it could outpace China's long-term economic growth."
The company benefits from long-term contracts that guarantee certain levels of business several years into the future.Morningstar said it thinks the company has significant growth potential because the firm's power plants serve the more developed eastern portion of China, where electricity demand is consistently stronger than in other regions. It also has a unique, protected position from competition, given the Chinese government's majority stake in the company. "Obtaining approval to build -- and sometimes, even, to acquire -- a power plant in China has traditionally been an onerous process," said Morningstar. "But Huaneng's relationships with the central and local governments have helped shield its power plants from significant competition." Citi Investment Research & Analysis, which has a "buy" rating on its shares, and said it expects the company's shares have a 11% appreciation potential and the company pays a 3.7% dividend, giving it a potential 15% potential return. Its shares are up 9.9% this year and 5.8% over the past year, giving it a market value of $7 billion. Wellington Management owns 2.6 million of its shares, or 0.14% of the outstanding shares, making it the largest institutional investor.