China Pharmaceutical Enterprise and Investment Corp has seen a return to healthier profit growth in the first half, posting an increase in profit of about 70 per cent. Half-year profit stood at $20.53 million, thanks to a 149 per cent surge in production of vitamin C, calcium ascorbate and sodium ascorbate, to 1,646.59 tonnes. The result was compared with a lower base last year, when the company reported a 57.6 per cent drop in net profit to $19.3 million due to fierce competition in the mainland vitamin C market and an increase in costs. Turnover rocketed 114 per cent to $126.57 million. Earnings per share were 3.42 cents over 2.01 cents a year earlier. An interim dividend of 1.2 cents per share would be paid against 1.4 cents earlier. Operating profit rose 28 per cent.