Jinpan Powers China: Under the Radar

HAIKOU, China ( TheStreet) -- As more of China becomes a modern country, companies such as power-equipment producer Jinpan International ( JST) will reap the benefits.

Exposure to companies that are building up China is extremely attractive. Infrastructure products like those made by Jinpan will be in high demand as gross domestic product growth continually stretches into the double digits. Jinpan gets a bit less than 90% of its revenue from China, leading analysts to reckon the company is primed for a growth rate of 20% in the coming years. Other power-equipment companies, such as Zurich-based ABB ( ABB), have slower growth rates because they do more of their business in developed countries in Europe and North America. A quarter of ABB's revenue comes from Asia.

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Jinpan's stock has soared 139% over the past 52 weeks, besting even the super-hot MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which has risen 71%. A price-to-earnings ratio of 11.95 versus the industry average of 28.3, and a price-to-earnings to growth ratio of just 0.6 suggest that the shares are priced at a discount.

With a return on equity of 21% and an operating margin of 14.7%, Jinpan looks solid but not overly phenomenal. The value of the company comes from its massive exposure to China in an industry that is sure to benefit from booming industrialization.

Beyond the growth prospects of China, there are environmental benefits to Jinpan's products that could cause the company to win extra orders as the world tries to live cleanly. Jinpan's cast-resin transformers are far cleaner and less hazardous to the environment than oil-filled transformers, which is what the competition uses.

Investors with an international focus have cleaned up. International diversification allows investors to gain exposure to higher-growth economies, supercharging returns. While there are certainly higher risks when dealing in foreign stocks, including currencies and politics, the benefits make those risks acceptable. China is on a trajectory unlike anything else, and Jinpan is out front.

-- Reported by David MacDougall in Boston.

Prior to joining TheStreet.com Ratings, David MacDougall was an analyst at Cambridge Associates, an investment consulting firm, where he worked with private equity and venture capital funds. He graduated cum laude from Northeastern University with a bachelor's degree in finance and is a Level III CFA candidate.

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