One small company I haven’t written about in this column for quite some time is American Oriental Bioengineering, Inc. (NYSE/AOB). By now, I suppose you’re aware of my affinity for small, U.S.-listed Chinese stocks. Some go up, some go down, but when you get a winner, you could really make a small fortune.
American Oriental is a pure-play Chinese company in the business of developing and selling plant-based pharmaceutical products and plant-based nutraceutical products that it distributes throughout China and Asia.
It is difficult to get a real sense for the plant-based pharmaceutical industry in China, but if there’s one country in the world that believes in these products, it is this red tiger.
American Oriental is registered in Nevada, has a corporate office in New York, and maintains its production and research facilities in China. It was first founded in 1970 and was listed for trading on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board. The stock graduated to the American Stock Exchange in July 2005, and it is now traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
American Orientals line of plant-based pharmaceuticals has more than 80 products, while its plant-based nutraceuticals line has more than 20 products featuring what the company calls “double soybean peptide tablets.”
Recently, American Oriental announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2008.
According to the company, its revenues grew 51% to almost thirty-nine million dollars, up solidly from revenues of close to twenty-six million dollars generated in the first quarter of 2007. American Oriental reported that sales from pharmaceutical products increased 72% to almost thirty-two million dollars, while sales from over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical products increased 138% to just over twenty-one million dollars.
The company finished the first quarter of 2008 with net income of $9.4 million, representing an impressive increase of 46% over net income of $6.4 million, generated in the comparable quarter last year.
Currently, American Orientals forecast for all of 2008 is for total sales to grow by some 50% to approximately two hundred and forty-five million dollars. This was an increase from previous estimates.
I can’t help but like small companies like this. American Oriental is representative of what I find attractive in a small-cap opportunity. It’s growing significantly, exceptionally profitable, and reasonably priced on the stock market.
U.S.-listed Chinese stocks are always highly speculative and they can be volatile, but you can’t really find this kind of growth in any other area of the market.