Garment manufacturer and exporter Tak Sing Alliance Holdings expects its operations in Europe to contribute a small profit next year after three successive years of losses. Jan Hoveling, the newly appointed managing director at Jeantex, Tak Sing's 63 per cent-owned Dutch-based flagship for western Europe, said he expected sales in the region to grow 50 per cent next year. Tak Sing's executive director Cheung Hing-kuen said the European operations had undergone difficult times since late 1992 when a top official working for the group's European partner passed away and most of its markets slumped into recession. 'We focused on the Benelux countries and managed to maintain a client base of about 200 customers there. However, the size of orders from each of the customers declined,' he said. Mr Hoveling said he was restructuring the distribution network in Benelux countries and actively looking into the possibility of introducing Tak Sing's own Chiori brand name in Britain, Ireland, Austria, Germany and eastern Europe. Mr Cheung said he expected sales to Europe would account for 20 per cent of the group's turnover for the year to March. He admitted the company's gross sales margin in Europe was not as large as that for the US market due to lower mark-ups in more sluggish economies.