The 2013 All-China Research Team: Basic Materials, First: Zheng Gao

Zheng Gao
China International Capital Corp.

First-place appearances: 1

Total appearances: 2

Analyst debut: 2012

Rising from No. 2 to notch her first appearance atop the roster is China International Capital Corp.’s Zheng Gao. The 33-year-old researcher, who tracks 30 companies from her base in Shanghai, “is most helpful with her in-depth understanding and impressive stock picking,” one money manager reports. Among the names Gao recommends clients buy is Nanjing Redsun Co., a vertically integrated maker of agricultural pesticides and coatings that she first recommended in January, with a target price of 16 yuan. In 2012 fast-rising demand for paraquat, one of the world’s biggest-selling contact chemical weed killers, had resulted in little available production capacity, which in turn had led to a local shortage of the herbicide. These conditions would enable the Nanjing–based company to hike prices significantly, she predicted. Nanjing Redsun’s share price had sprouted to 15.02 yuan by the end of October, gaining 23.3 percent since her endorsement and beating the sector by 43.9 percentage points. Another current top pick is Yantai-based Wanhua Chemical Group Co., which manufactures specialty chemicals for use in making coatings, elastomers, fibers and foams. Thanks to its improving gross margins, prices and sales volume, Gao launched coverage on Wanhua in March with a buy rating, at 16.42 yuan. In late October the stock was trading at 17.47 yuan. “We have benefited from her good calls,” cheers another backer. Gao joined CICC in 2010 from Everbright Securities Co., where she covered essentially the same names. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in finance at Shanghai’s East China Normal University. — Ben Mattlin