PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 May, 2005, 12:00am

About a year ago Core Pacific-Yamaichi increased its earnings forecast and target price for Maanshan Iron & Steel after China's largest Hong Kong-listed steel producer announced robust growth in 2003 earnings and encouraging results for the first quarter of last year.

The broker placed a 'buy'' recommendation on the stock, and raised its target price from $4.20 to $4.50, an upside of 22.5 per cent on its price of $3.675 on April 16 last year. The counter was trading at $2.925 a year ago.

The earnings forecast for 2004 was increased by 7.4 per cent to 3.61 billion yuan and for 2005 by 7.3 per cent to 4.24 billion yuan.

Last month Maanshan unveiled a plan to raise its production capacity after reporting a 30.6 per cent year-on-year fall in first-quarter net profit. The company posted a net profit of 1.05 billion yuan, down from 1.51 billion yuan for the same quarter last year.

It also reported a 35.09 per cent rise in net profit for last year to 3.59 billion yuan as turnover surged 70.07 per cent to 26.77 billion yuan.

The counter closed at $2.775 on Friday.