Aeon Credit Service (Asia) Co has reported a strong first half, with net profits surging 55.5 per cent to $34.21 million as turnover jumped 37.3 per cent to $153.27 million. Earnings per share for the six months to August 20 increased to 10.26 cents from 8.8 cents a year earlier. The company recommended an interim dividend of 2.5 cents a share. There was no payout in the same period last year. Managing director Kazuhide Kamitani attributed the result to rapid growth in the credit card business and an improvement in bad debt margin. Credit card business generated 84 per cent of the turnover while vehicle loans accounted for 11 per cent. The remainder was from personal loans and hire purchase, general manager Derek Lai said. The company had about 200,000 card-holders at the end of the first half, up 88 per cent from the same time last year. The company aims to expand the card-holder base to 250,000 by the end of the financial year. With the launch of an automatic card issuance machine, Robot Choi-San, next month, the card-issuing process was shortened to 30 minutes, which could boost the number of card-holders, Mr Kamitani said.