Soaring material costs and stiff competition shaved 79 per cent off Chengdu Telecommunications Cable Co's earnings to 15.78 million yuan (about HK$14.67 million) last year. The company said yesterday operating profit plunged 82 per cent to 17.72 million yuan, excluding an exceptional gain of 7.12 million from the sale of equipment to an associate. The H-share company did not say how much interest income it earned from the 280 million yuan of unused listing proceeds placed in banks. Turnover fell 9 per cent to 589.59 million yuan. Earnings per share were 0.039 yuan and no final dividend was declared. Chengdu Cable also said talks with United States telecommunications giant Corning for an optical fibre joint venture and that with another foreign firm for cable joining sleeves were terminated. The firm said in its listing prospectus last year, it planned to invest US$25 million in the ventures. It was hit by a 42 per cent rise in copper prices last year and a 3.6 per cent drop in product prices.