THE Yaohan group is trying to play down its dismal interim results for the six months to September 30, saying the worst is over. Yaohan International Holdings (YIH) reported an 80 per cent plunge in net profit to $33.75 million. The interim dividend remained flat at 4.5 cents, to be paid on February 8. Earnings per share dropped to 3.4 cents against 17.1 cents last year. YIH is the holding company of the group's businesses. These cover department stores, restaurants, wholesale and distribution of food products and a wide range of consumer goods. Yaohan was victim of the dampened retail market in the territory, as expected. Yaohan Hongkong Corporation reported an attributable loss of $92.75 million against a profit of $14.49 million last year. No interim dividend was announced, while there was a dividend of four cents the previous year. Losses from continuing operations alone amounted to $101.5 million. The group handles the establishment of Japanese department stores in Hong Kong. Managing director Shunzo Ide said the poor results were due to high rentals in its Sha Tin centre store (now closed) and the start-up cost of the new store in Ma On Shan. Losses per share were 25.8 cents against profit per share of four cents last year. Yaohan Food Processing and Trading Co had its attributable profit slashed more than half - by 54 per cent - to $10.4 million. The interim dividend remained flat at 2.8 cents, payable January 31, while earnings per share dropped to 4.21 cents from 9.04 cent. Managing director Hajime Nakayama blamed the mainland market for the lacklustre performance. 'The group's new marketing strategy is expected to enable the Shenzhen factory to achieve a break-even for the second half of the year,' he said. Yaohan's entertainment arm, Whimsy Entertainment Co, which operates family indoor entertainment centres, reported a 78.64 per cent drop in attributable profit to $12.7 million. An interim dividend of two cents was announced, payable February 9. It was listed in April 1995. Earnings per share dropped to 6.36 cents, from 39.73 cents. Of the five listed companies of the group, only Yaohan International Caterers reported improved earnings. Net profit rose by 1.7 per cent to $40.8 million and the interim dividend rose by 0.5 cents to five cents, payable January 24.