Guangdong Brewery, a subsidiary of red chip Guangdong Investment, said net profit was $96.32 million last year. This included an exceptional gain of $6.02 million in interest income from over-subscriptions to its public offering. Stripping out the gain, the profit represented a 45 per cent rise over 1996 and was consistent with the forecast stated in the listing prospectus in July. Sales rose 18 per cent to $525.06 million, with operating profit surging 40 per cent to $126.36 million. Earnings per share were 9.2 cents, up 33 per cent. No final dividend was proposed. Chairman Au Wai-ming said the company, which brews Kingway beer, was not hit by the regional financial crisis as it had no Hong Kong dollar floating-rate debts and its key market - Guangdong - was not directly affected by the turbulence. Last year, beer sales rose a lower than expected 15 per cent to 137,000 tonnes. Mr Au said the brewery planned to expand annual production capacity to one million tonnes in 2000 from 600,000 tonnes.