Xinao Gas Holdings will invest 296 million yuan in four piped-gas supply projects.
The mainland-based gas supplier said yesterday the projects were located at Guilin in Guangxi, Tongliao in Inner Mongolia, and two in Shandong province.
Chairman Wang Yusuo said the investments would boost the company's nationwide presence to 43 cities with a combined population of 19.6 million.
'We expect to see stable business growth this year, and gas sales are projected to rise more than 40 per cent a year until 2007,' he said.
Xinao posted a 43.1 per cent jump in net profit for last year to 183.09 million yuan.
Turnover rose 61.3 per cent to 878.05 million yuan. Earnings per share grew 37.8 per cent to 24.8 fen.
The profit growth came largely from new connection fees, which accounted for 58.8 per cent of the group's turnover.
Of the new investments, the biggest is the Guilin project. Owned 60 per cent by Xinao and the rest by A share Guilin Travel, the project would cost a total of 120.28 million yuan and would serve a population of 640,000.
Meanwhile, two Xinao subsidiaries are building a gas liquefaction terminal in Beihai, Guangxi province.
Natural gas produced offshore near Guangxi province will be compressed and shipped to various cities, where it will be re-gasified and piped to users.