Red chip China Travel International Investment Hong Kong has beaten market expectations to post an 89 per cent jump in net profit to $499 million. The result was bolstered by a net exceptional gain of $96.1 million and share of associated companies' profit of $43.8 million. The company made provisions for doubtful and bad debts of $102.7 million and a provision for a diminution in the value of other investments of $69.1 million. Operating profit rose 20 per cent to $404.9 million on a 45 per cent rise in turnover to $2.1 billion. Earnings per share were 16.13 cents on a diluted basis. A final dividend of 1.5 cents a share was declared, bringing the total payout to 3.3 cents a share against 3.5 cents earlier. Market consensus in the May edition of The Estimate Directory forecast a 62 per cent surge in net profit to $428 million. The company did not disclose details of the exceptional items and figures showing the performance of individual operations. Chairman Zhu Yuening said 'operational results of some businesses were not satisfactory in the second half of the year' as a result of the financial crisis. 'However, the results as a whole were still satisfactory', he said. Mr Zhu said the company completed the biggest number of acquisition projects since its incorporation. This included the purchase of substantial interests in Citybus Group and Hing Kong Holdings, allowing the company to diversify into the passenger transportation and property sectors. Net asset value almost doubled to $7.3 billion at the end of last year, up from $3.7 billion previously. 'Faced with unfavourable factors such as the Asian financial turmoil, asset depreciation and crisis in the monetary market, the group will maintain its prudent strategy for 1998,' Mr Zhu said. He said the company would only pursue quality projects providing synergy to existing businesses. 'Despite the volatility of Hong Kong's economy in 1997 and the uncertainties ahead, the board expects the group's earnings will have a moderate growth in coming years,' he said.