Diversified company Pacific Concord lifted its 1996 net profit three-fold to $538.1 million as it reaped a handsome exceptional gain from the spin-off of its property development business. The separate listing of Concord Land Development last November generated an exceptional gain of $458.1 million for Pacific Concord. Stripping away one-off income, the group's operating profit fell 28.7 per cent to $187.4 million as turnover dropped 22 per cent to $726.5 million. Despite the exceptional gain, final dividend declared increased only slightly to 1.83 cents, bringing the year's total to 3.66 cents per share. In 1995, total dividend was 3.58 cents. Pacific Concord said it was keen to replenish the land bank for its residential property development business in Hong Kong. It said a great deal of groundwork had been completed and when appropriate, results of this effort would be announced. The company's biggest property investment in the territory, the Ma On Shan residential project jointly developed with Cheung Kong, will be on pre-sale later this year. With an expected selling price of $7,000 per square foot, which compares with the $900 per square foot land cost, Pacific Concord expected significant profits in the next three years. In China, the group has 3.5 million square feet of shopping centres in prime locations that have yet to generate rental income. It said it soon would start the leasing compaign for Shanghai Concord Plaza, which was scheduled for full opening by the end of 1999. Other projects included Beijing Concord Plaza, Suzhou Concord Plaza and developments in Shenyang, Wuhan and Guangzhou. Another of the group's biggest businesses - department store operation - would be involved with establishment of several hypermarkets in China. That marked the company's first moves to tap the benefits of its strategic alliance with the Yaohan Group. Pacific Concord spent $134 million to buy a 19.86 per cent stake in Yaohan International Holdings earlier this month. The third arm of the company, its 60 per cent subsidiary Concord Telecommunications, saw itself transformed from being a maker of paging equipment to a service provider in China. Last year for the first time, Concord Telecom recorded a higher net revenue level from its service than from manufacturing and sales. It is involved in mobile information terminal business and Chinese character paging in China. There are now 180,000 subscribers using the terminals and Chinese pagers. 'Most of these networks have reached the second year of service and are ready for a take-off in the growth of the subscriber base after their initial year,' the company said.