Instant noodle-maker Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding has unveiled a lower-than-expected US$2.8 million loss from the launch of its beverage and rice cracker businesses this year. The April launch into non-carbonated drinks resulted in a $1.2 million loss, compared with Merrill Lynch's projection of $5 million. A $1.6 million loss was booked for the rice cracker operation, launched in January. Managing director Wei Ying-chiao said the profit margin for the drinks was only 6 per cent, which helped boost monthly sales to one million boxes. Sales of drinks made up 2 per cent of the $228.01 million sales in the first half to June. Rice crackers accounted for 3 per cent. Net profit rose 14.14 per cent to $35.68 million. Mr Wei said by the end of the year, Tingyi would have invested $330 million on new production lines. Part of the investment would be used to repay bank loans and shore up a fledgling cooking oil joint venture, he said. 'This is to avoid the doubled tariff on imported machinery of 40 per cent starting in January.' Of the investment, $146 million had been raised through a share offering in February, Mr Wei said. About $150 million will come from an upcoming issue of three-year floating rate notes. The remainder will come from retained profits. The company plans to increase the production lines for instant noodles to 68 and those for biscuits to 18 with the completion of a new plant in Tianjin in December.