China’s first 1,000-yuan stock since 2005 is a liquor company

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 09:00:10-04

The world’s most valuable liquor firm just set a new stock market record in China.

Shares in Kweichow Moutai, a top Chinese distillery that produces the national baijiu spirit, traded at a new record high of 1,001 yuan ($145) on the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Thursday.

It’s the first Chinese company to hit the 1,000-yuan milestone since the country overhauled its stock market in 2005.

The shares have been on a tear this year, surging 69% on the back of stronger than expected earnings. Kweichow Moutai is now worth 1.25 trillion yuan ($180 billion), making it the sixth most valuable company listed in China (behind three big banks, an insurer and the state oil company.)

Kweichow Moutai reported in March that its net profit jumped 30% in 2018 to 35.2 billion yuan ($5.1 billion), beating market estimates. Revenue also increased 26%.

Following the earnings, a number of analysts raised their target prices for the stock to above 1,000 yuan. In April, Goldman Sachs set a target price for Kweichow Moutai of 1,033 yuan while earlier this month Pacific Securities — a Chinese brokerage — reiterated its target 1,030 yuan for the stock.

Pacific Securities says it expects the company to benefit from price increases for its high-end liquor products that are popular with Chinese consumers.

Moutai, named after a town in southwestern Guizhou province, is China’s best known baijiu brand. It’s a clear spirit made from red sorghum with a fiery taste and 53% alcohol by volume.

Moutai has been declared the country’s national liquor by the government, and it’s often served at national banquets or given out as diplomatic gifts. In 1972, it was used to toast President Richard Nixon on his historic visit to China.

Kweichow Moutai surpassed Diageo, the owner of Johnnie Walker, in 2017 to become the world’s most valuable liquor company by market cap. Diageo is worth £80 billion ($102 billion), according to Refinitiv.