China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited (China Eastern), one of the three largest airliners in China by fleet size and the primary air carrier serving Shanghai, was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Shanghai, China. China Eastern, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the airline operations in China, and internationally. It provides domestic and international passenger, cargo, and mail airline services. The company is also involved in the logistics and property management operations and provision of air catering, pilot training, aircraft repair and maintenance, flight simulation, and airport ground services. China Eastern accounted for approximately 23.0% of the total commercial air traffic (as measured in tonne-kilometers) handled by Chinese airlines in 2006. China Eastern operates primarily from Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport and Pudong International Airport. As of December 31, 2006, China Eastern operated a fleet of 205 aircraft. China Eastern is a subsidiary of state-owned China Eastern Airlines Holding Company, which owns 59.67% of China Eastern.
China Eastern recorded a sharp profit increase in the third quarter mainly due to strong passenger demand and the Chinese currency appreciating versus the US dollar. Although volatile fuel prices and fewer operating efficiencies still hurt China Eastern's operating performance, China Eastern is well positioned to leverage the growth potential of aviation industry in China. Other factors including an appreciating Chinese currency, high discount of ADS price to A share price, and expected operating efficiencies brought by its strategic partners should also support its stock price. We think its current price fairly reflects most factors. Therefore, we are maintaining Hold recommendation for its stock.