Guangzhou Shipyard International Co's first-half profit slipped 33 per cent on the back of declining sales, selling prices of containers and export tax rebate rate. The H-share company made a profit of 32.3 million yuan, despite a 5.5 per cent surge in turnover to 896.07 million yuan (about HK$784.7 million) in the six months to June. Profit before tax fell 37 per cent to 37.2 million yuan. Earnings per share tumbled to 0.0653 yuan from 0.0978 yuan. No interim dividend will be paid. The group said it enjoyed strong growth in its ship-building, ship-repairing, and steel-structure construction operations. Turnover in ship-building operations jumped 13.9 per cent to 501.5 million yuan. Three vessels were launched and another three were delivered during the period. The group focused more on the repair of foreign-owned vessels, which made up of 50 per cent of sales. Sales for ship-repairing shot up 44.5 per cent to 15.3 million yuan. With the full commencement of fabrication of steel box girder for the Humen Bridge in Guangdong, the group's sales from the steel-structure construction business rocketed 12.5 times to 115.2 million yuan. Affected by the fluctuation in the demand and supply of containers, the container manufacturing division saw a 32 per cent plunge in sales to 235.05 million yuan. Chairman Hu Guoliang said: 'As the state economy is undergoing a transition from a stage of austerity to a new stage of development, the group is expected to benefit from the Government's policies for the new development stage.' The group said it would strengthen its shipbuilding and container manufacturing in the second half of the year. The group recently secured ship-building orders for two 27,000 deadweight tonne bulk carriers and orders for the manufacture of 10,000 20 ft equivalent unit containers. It would continue to develop its steel-structure construction business, terrestrial machinery operations and new products such as aluminium high-speed boats and elevators.