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PacificNet: A Yankee Player In China's Court


PacificNet (PACT) is an unusual China play. It is incorporated in the U.S. and trades on the NASDAQ -- but operates from China. It provides outsourcing and services such as call centers, telemarketing, customer relationship management, and e-commerce software. Clients include biggies like China Telecom (CHA), China Mobile, Bank of China, and the Hong Kong government.

Stephen Leeb of Leeb Capital Management says the stock, now at 7.09, could double in a year because of PacificNet's rapid growth. Between Nov. 11 and Nov. 21 the stock plummeted from 8.35 to 6.34 as the company cut its earnings forecast for 2005. Tian Hou of C.E.Unterberg, Towbin, who rates the stock a buy, says PacificNet is back on track, having reversed a revenue drop in one of its units. Hou sees growth continuing in 2006. Earnings, she figures, jumped to 21 cents a share in 2005 on sales of $42 million, up from 9 cents in 2004 on $30 million. In 2006 she sees profits of 26 cents on $50 million. PacificNet recently bought Hitching International, which sells financial advisory services in China through TV infomercials. Hou expects it will add 10 cents to annual earnings. It also bought Guangzhou Wanrong Information Technology, a telecom service provider.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

By Gene G. Marcial


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