Business Digest

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2006, 12:00am

union square mall fills 70pc of retail space

MTR Corp has leased 70 per cent of its Union Square flagship shopping centre at Kowloon Station 18 months before the opening, underscoring strong demand for retail space, according to a senior official.

The one million-square foot shopping centre - branded Elements - above the Airport Express railway station was being promoted as an upmarket dining and shopping destination, MTR property director Thomas Ho Hang-kwong said yesterday.

He said the remaining retail space at Union Square would be reserved for international brands, which had yet to have any presence in the city. Sources said Swedish retailer H&M was one of them.

The mall - 80 per cent owned by the MTR and the rest by Sun Hung Kai Properties - is part of the $25 billion Union Square development that also comprises two five-star hotels, a 118-floor International Commercial Centre office tower and high-end apartments. Denise Tsang

cosco-hit terminal sees drop in throughput

The Cosco-HIT joint-venture terminal run by Cosco Pacific and Hutchison International Terminals posted a 28 per cent decrease in throughput last month, indicating that it has not recovered from the loss of one of its biggest clients, China Shipping Container Lines, six months ago.

Cosco-HIT handled 122,300 20-foot equivalent units (teu) last month, compared with 169,800 teu in the corresponding period last year.

The joint venture has suffered a 12.6 per cent drop in throughput for the first six months while Hong Kong's major container terminals handled 8.4 per cent more containers on average.

Meanwhile, Cosco Pacific's 15 port operations saw throughput increase 26 per cent overall last month to 2.7 million teu. Total throughput in the first six months has risen 23.5 per cent to 15 million teu. Charlotte So

dragonair carries 10pc more passengers

Hong Kong Dragon Airline carried 10 per cent more business and leisure travellers in the first six months.

The carrier moved 2.61 million passengers across its regional network, up 10.2 per cent year on year, increasing its carrying capacity - measured in available seat-kilometres - a comparative 5.5 per cent.

Cargo carried increased 4.6 per cent to 188,130 tonnes. Passenger volumes last month grew 10.1 per cent year on year to 448,021, while cargo volumes fell 1.4 per cent to 31,211 tonnes. Russell Barling

tonic profit dives amid high rates and costs

Audio-visual products manufacturer Tonic Industries Holdings saw net profit drop 32.14 per cent to $18.61 million for the year to March due to high interest rates and increased raw material costs. Turnover slipped 9.26 per cent to $2.39 billion.

However, the group said its home appliance division had performed well, accounting for 10 per cent of turnover, and that it was stepping up efforts to diversify its product lines to include high-margin products such as DVD recorders.

Earnings per share fell to two cents from 3.9 cents. A final dividend of one cent will be paid, the same as last year. Winnie Yeung