ANNOUNCING a healthy 19.3 per cent net profit growth to $729.5 million, the Wing Lung Bank says it has doubled its shareholders' fund by realising its property revaluation surplus and inner reserves. The 31-branch bank is highly valued more for its hidden reserves than progressive growth and its 1995 result announcement confirmed this market perception. The bank revalued its investment properties in December 1995, excluding those used for bank premises, and shuffled a surplus of $1.78 billion off to its shareholders' funds. Chairman Michael Wu Po-ko said: 'In line with our business expansion, the revaluation was done so that we have a larger capital base.' It said it had no intention of revaluing the 28 branches it owned, which could substantially shore up shareholders' funds. Inner reserves reached $470 million, about 23 per cent of the shareholders' funds, at the end of 1994. This was substantially higher than the average 10 per cent the Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced earlier. The bank's 19.3 per cent profit growth was in line with expectations. It was the first bank in this reporting season to experience a squeeze in net interest margin last year, measured in terms of interest income as a percentage of interest earning assets. The margin shrank from 2.6 per cent to 2.53 per cent. 'Deposit rates in the first half of the year were quite confusing. That led to higher interest expenses,' Mr Wu said. Diversifying into lower-yielding business such as syndication loans also depressed the margin slightly. Its net interest income grew 15.9 per cent to $913 million. The dividend per share increased 22.4 per cent to $1.75.