RED chip China Merchants Hai Hong Holdings posted a record 144 per cent leap in net profit to $64.71 million last year, fuelled by significant contribution from two acquisitions. The outstanding performance, however, lagged behind market predictions of a 195 per cent rise to $78 million, according to the Estimate Directory in March. Chairman Jiang Bo yesterday attributed the sharp gains to the contribution from the acquisitions of two companies. In July, Hai Hong took over Lucky Dragon, which holds a 13.39 per cent stake in China Southern Glass Holding, and Ming Wah (Universal) Shipping Inc and its subsidiaries (Ming Wah Group). Mr Jiang said profits derived from these two companies accounted for 'a substantial part of the group's earnings for the year.' Hai Hong's turnover grew 67 per cent to $560.21 million, from $335.32 million previously. Earnings-per-share was up 26.85 per cent to 13.7 cents, while the final dividend rose 14 per cent to eight cents a share. Mr Jiang said: 'After the takeover of Lucky Dragon and Ming Wah Group, the contribution from their satisfactory results and smooth operations has enabled the group to establish a diversified portfolio, and has generated a favourable return to the shareholders.' Since July, shipping group Ming Wah had contributed a $36 million profit to Hai Hong, said To Wing-sing, a director at Hai Hong. Ming Wah is engaged principally in chartering services for transport of crude oil, residual oil and processed oil products and iron ore. It owns an ore carrier and five oil tankers. Mr To expected shipping would do better this year as a result of the recovery of the industry worldwide. Hai Hong's industrial division, composed of paint making and glass manufacturing, accounted for about 50 per cent of the group's profit, of which 35 per cent came from paint business. Mr Zhao Qingsheng, another director, said industrial business remained the core business, accounting for about 70 per cent of the group's earnings this year. Hai Hong's second new paint manufacturing plant in Shanghai is expected to commence production in the second half of the year. 'These additional facilities will serve to increase the group's overall manufacturing capacity and to reduce transportation costs for shipments to customers in the northwestern provinces in China. 'We are also looking for overseas enterprises to jointly develop the paint business,' Mr Jiang said.