Business Digest

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 12:00am

property play Expecting 40pc rise in rental income

Emperor International Holdings expects its rental income increase more than 40 per cent this year as a result of the bullish retail market.

Donald Cheung Ping-keung, director of Emperor Group's property department, predicts rents in some street shops will double when contracts are renewed.

Rental income from the firm's $3 billion worth of investment properties for the year to March was about $105 million, while net profit was about $90 million. Retail properties make up about 40 per cent of the investment properties.

The firm's overall net profit increased 40.7 per cent to $471 million, largely due to a $360 million gain from investment properties revaluation, according to Vanessa Fan Man-seung, managing director of the group.

Earnings per share increased to 53 cents from 39 cents in the previous year.

The company declared a final dividend of 68 cents per share, taking dividend for the whole year to $1.01, up from 71 cents the previous year. Ernest Kong

energy worries help chen HSONG lift earnings 22pc

Electricity shortages in China have forced manufacturers to seek ways to save power, boosting demand for energy-efficient factory machinery, according to Chiang Lai-yuen, chief executive of Chen Hsong Holdings.

Chen Hsong is one of the world's largest producers of plastic injection moulding machines used to produce plastic moulds for products such as telephones, toys and home appliances.

'Since China has continued to suffer from electricity shortages, energy-saving technology has become a crucial purchase criterion when buying injection-moulding machines,' Ms Chiang said.

High turnover from the sales of the energy-efficient machinery helped the group post a 22 per cent increase in net profit to $260.62 million for the year to March.

That compared with a $213.59 million profit in the previous year.

Earnings per share reached 42.2 cents.

The company will pay a final dividend of 14 cents per share. Enoch Yiu

TOLL-road firm maps out route to cheaper funds

H-share toll-road operator Jiangsu Expressway plans to raise four billion yuan by issuing lower-cost short-term commercial paper to fund a large-scale road expansion project.

Chairman Shen Changquan said yesterday that the decision to issue commercial paper was aimed at saving at least 50 million yuan in interest expenses annually, following an increase in the cost of bank borrowings.

The issue is expected to be approved by shareholders and banking regulator People's Bank of China by October.

The funds raised would be used to meet the 11 billion yuan capital expenditure of widening the group's flagship expressway - the Jiangsu section of the Shanghai-Nanjing expressway.

'The interest rate of bank borrowings is pretty high at about 5 per cent annually, and that of the short-term commercial papers we are talking about is about 3 per cent,' Mr Shen told South China Morning Post.

'The difference will bring at least 50 million yuan in interest cost savings every year,' Mr Shen added.

Work started last year on widening the Shanghai-Nanjing expressway to eight lanes from four to meet continuing traffic growth. The work is expected to be completed next year.

Jiangsu Expressway shares fell 1.85 per cent to close at $3.975 yesterday. Denise Tsang