Asia-Pacific hotel chain Shangri-La Asia has announced a 36.6 per cent rise in profit attributable to shareholders to $502.47 million for the six months to June 30. The profit growth was put down to stronger visitor arrivals to Hong Kong and better than expected increase in occupancy at the company's hotels in the Philippines, Indonesia and Fiji. Operating profit for the period increased 39.8 per cent to $638.93 million, while turnover soared 63.2 per cent to $1.4 billion. Earnings per share climbed to 34.07 cents from 33.06 cents a year earlier. Directors announced an interim dividend of 15 cents a share. Net profit and turnover were both marginally higher than the market had expected, and analysts called it a fair to good result. The directors said growth of tourism to the territory saw average occupancy for the Kowloon Shangri-La and the Island Shangri-La rise 6 per cent to 81 per cent in the six months. The average room rate for the two hotels was $1,877, a room revenue increase of 17 per cent. In China, the group's eight hotels achieved an average occupancy of 67 per cent in the same period, slightly down on last year's figures, and a little softer than what analysts had expected. The Portman Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai saw occupancy grow 8 per cent to 77 per cent, and the Xian Shangri-La Golden Flower Hotel's occupancy rose 19 per cent to 52 per cent. Overall, hotels contributed 72 per cent of the operating profit earned in the period. Properties contributed 28 per cent, compared with 34 per cent in the previous period. Occupancies in China World Trade Centre's serviced flats and offices both declined, to 92 per cent and 93 per cent respectively. The directors said that in other areas of the region, the hotels bought last year performed well ahead of expectations. In the Philippines, the occupancy rate at the Shangri-La Hotel, Manila grew 9 per cent to 84 per cent, and the Mactan Island Resort improved 4 per cent to 83 per cent. In Indonesia, the Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta saw occupancy rates jump 25 per cent to 74 per cent, and in Fiji, the Fijian Resort's occupancy increased 13 per cent to 56 per cent. Construction on Shangri-La hotels in Qingdao and Dalian, expected to open next year, was progressing on schedule. The directors said the outlook for the second half for Hong Kong and other hotels remained positive, while that for China was less so. Contributions from the mainland are expected to be hampered by start-up losses of the three new hotels opened recently, a softer outlook generally for the hotel industry, and minimal growth in contributions from the properties portfolio. The result announcement helped Shangri-La Asia shares recover some of their early losses yesterday. They closed five cents down at $10.30 after trading as low as $10.25.