Firstone International Holdings saw profit plunge 72.45 per cent to $4.16 million for the six months to June 30. Turnover rose 33 per cent to $227.68 million, but operating profit was down 13.87 per cent to $25.2 million. Earnings per share were slashed 83.33 per cent to one cent from six cents last year. The company said it would pay no interim dividend, as in last year. Firstone said it had entered a conditional subscription agreement with Prestbury Incorporated, which has a large stake in the company, for 50 convertible preference shares of Firstone at a subscription price of $1 million each. The shares were offered as full payment for a shareholder's loan of $50 million Prestbury previously made to Firstone. The shareholder's loan bears an interest rate of 1 per cent per month. Prestbury holds 26.51 per cent or 120.72 million shares of the company. Chairman Wong Sitt-kam said the group was concentrating more on producing high voltage capacitors because competition was low and profit margins higher. With new factories starting production in the first half of the year, the group expected to benefit from economies of scale and enjoy cost savings as a result of continuing internal consolidation, he said. Shaoxing Wine would contribute increased recurrent income to the group, stemming from a steady China market and the new ones in Hong Kong, Japan and Southeast Asia. Firstone said it was negotiating a joint venture with a Korean group which was well-known for the manufacture of instant noodles.