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   제목: At $232 Billion, World's 3rd-Largest Oil Major Looks Cheap


At $232 Billion, World's 3rd-Largest Oil Major Looks Cheap

By Aibing Guo and Fox Hu

March 13, 2018

Consensus price target is about 27% higher than current level


Reforms expected to unlock value for China뭩 top oil producer



With its earnings outlook improving and massive pipeline assets expected to be restructured, analysts are forecasting a rally in PetroChina Co.뭩 Hong Kong shares, which are still trading at 2008 crisis levels.



Out of 22 analysts tracked by Bloomberg who follow China뭩 state-run global oil major, 14 recommend buying the stock and none call for selling. Consensus price target for the stock is about 27 percent higher than the current level, versus 15 percent for shares of comparable companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of the close of trading Monday in Asia.






Following a nearly 18 percent increase in crude prices last year on global economic recovery and output cuts by major oil producing countries, analysts surveyed by Bloomberg project PetroChina뭩 profit will double in 2018 before rising another 25 percent in 2019. Morgan Stanley said last week PetroChina would be the biggest winner from a crude rally as its earnings per share are most sensitive to price changes among all global majors.






Another potential catalyst is PetroChina뭩 plan to unlock the value of its nearly 80,000 kilometers of pipelines by spinning them off. That move has so far been largely ignored by investors, whose confidence has been undermined by a major corruption scandal in 2013 that resulted in the imprisonment of a number of board members and former chairman Jiang Jiemin.



PetroChina lost 0.6 percent to HK$5.40 a share at 1:08 p.m. Tuesday in Hong Kong. The city뭩 benchmark stock index fell 0.2 percent.

멣everely Undervalued

밣ipeline assets don뭪 count for a cent in PetroChina뭩 current stock price, but they will bring in huge added value after reforms," said Laban Yu, head of Asia oil and gas equities at Jefferies Group LLC in Hong Kong, adding that PetroChina is "severely undervalued."

To read more about PetroChina뭩 potential pipeline spinoff, click here.

The National Development & Reform Commission, the country뭩 top economic planner, has said that pipelines of oil and gas companies should be separate units from other businesses, fueling speculation that the country may want to strip pipelines from state-owned explorers, including PetroChina.





Vice President Huang Weihe also hinted at the possibility last year, saying upcoming reforms could unlock the value of the 500 billion yuan ($79 billion) worth of pipeline assets.

PetroChina officials contacted by Bloomberg News didn뭪 respond to a request for comment.

In terms of book value, PetroChina looks attractive. The Beijing-based firm뭩 H shares are trading at a 33 percent discount to book, making it the cheapest among oil and gas companies with a market capitalization above $100 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Exxon Mobil Corp. enjoys a 68 percent premium to book value, while Royal Dutch Shell Plc trades at 1.34 times book.

Selected articles from Bloomberg
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