And in a class all by itself, the US$1 trillion(1,000,000,000,000) club.
On Monday, the 4 billion A-share offering, priced at 16.7 yuan per share, finished its first day of trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange at 43.96 yuan, rising as high as 48 yuan intraday. At US$1.005 trillion, PetroChina’s market cap is more than twice that of its US peer, Exxon Mobil (USD $486 billion), even though Exxon Mobil generated four times as much revenue last year and trades at only a quarter of PetroChina’s price to earning ratio, 13 to PetroChina’s 55.
But the craziness doesn’t end there. The lofty market cap comes with an asterisk: US$1 trillion only if you go by PetroChina’s local valuation. Shares traded overseas (Hong Kong and New York) values the company at roughly US$400 billion. One HK share (H-share) confers equity holders the same amount of ownership as one A-share, and one share of ADR traded on the NYSE grants 100 times as much ownership. While PetroChina’s A share closed up today at 43.96 yuan, its H-share finished down 8.2 percent at HKD $18, or 17.65 yuan (1 yuan=1.02 HKD). The gaping difference is a function of many factors: Beijing’s restriction on capital flow, lack of investment choices in China, and of course, out-of-control greed coupled with widespread ignorance on the part of Chinese retail investors.
In a related story, billionaire investor Warren Buffet sold his entire PetroChina stake several months ago, calling the price action in China “carried away.”
Jay Sheng is Shanghaiist’s Business Editor. Email tips, news and gossip about business in Shanghai and China to biz at shanghaiist.com.