CSR Corporation, one of China's leading train makers, expects total sales to rise 10 per cent this year, but forecasts a 50 per cent climb in overseas sales, signalling that last July's deadly train accident in Wenzhou involving two CSR high-speed trains has not hurt its exports.
'Last year, our exports grew very quickly and were not affected by the July 23 accident,' said CSR chairman Zhao Xiaogang. 'This year our exports will increase by 50 per cent.'
Exports of the Hong Kong- and Shanghai-listed firm increased 162 per cent last year to 6.1 billion yuan (HK$7.5 billion), accounting for 7.7 per cent of turnover.
Full-year revenue grew 24 per cent to 79.52 billion yuan, bolstering a 53 per cent growth in net profit to 3.86 billion yuan.
At the end of 2011, the firm's outstanding contracts totalled 82 billion yuan, including 13 billion yuan in overseas deals. Zhao said international interest in Chinese rail products was growing, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreeing to bilateral co-operation during talks this week in Shanghai.
In the 12th five-year plan for 2011 to 2015, 600 billion yuan of rolling stock will be bought domestically, compared with 324.6 billion yuan in the previous five-year period, said Shao Renqiang, CSR's board secretary. This year, 3,335 kilometres of domestic high-speed railways will be commissioned.
In the first two months of this year, domestic fixed-asset investment in railways dived 57.7 per cent to 29.93 billion yuan, according to the Ministry of Railways.
However, Premier Wen Jiabao recently said there would be no change to Beijing's target of having 120,000 kilometres of railways by 2015, including 16,000 kilometres of high-speed railways.
On April 1, Wen ordered 500 billion yuan to be made available for railway investment in the province of Fujian and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
'The domestic railway sector is not shrinking, but expanding,' said Zhao. 'The international and domestic rail markets have big room for growth.'
CSR will pay a dividend of 0.18 yuan per share, or a total dividend of 2.48 billion yuan for last year, exceeding the 473.6 million it paid in 2010.
CSR's dividend payout ratio was 64.2 per cent last year.
'Investors are concerned with the value of A shares. For the sake of a healthy A-share market, we must add value for our investors,' Zhao said. 'If more than half the listed firms gave dividends with a higher reward than bank interest, that will attract more investors to the A-share market.'