Manufacturer and trader of industrial equipment Cosmos Machinery Enterprises plans further diversifications in the coming year. Cosmos chairman Tang To yesterday said the company would be investing in facilities to build and sell forklifts in the mainland. He said the company planned to invest $10 million in a production line to make 500 forklifts this year and another 1,000 next year. A forklift imported from Japan costs about $160,000, compared with a mainland-made model, which costs an average 80,000 yuan (about HK$74,472). Cosmos hopes to produce a product of a higher quality for about 130,000 yuan - lower than the Japanese brand- to be sold on the mainland. Mr Tang said the company also would invest about US$2 million to team up with a company in Italy to manufacture machines to make stockings. 'We've acted as agents for this company previously, so now we're just collaborating on production,' Mr Tang said. He did not name the Italian firm but said the partnership would make 200 to 300 sewing machines in the first year to test the market. Exports of plastics manufacturing equipment to the US would be increased to represent half the company's exports. General manager Mr Won Sau-yan said a fierce price war in Asia had led the company to focus on markets such as the US and Europe in the past year. He said the Asian financial downturn had not affected the company as exports to Southeast Asia accounted for 15 per cent of exports. Cosmos' turnover rose 18.3 per cent to $1.38 billion in the year to December. Turnover was boosted by the acquisition of Welltec Industrial at the end of June last year. Profit attributable to shareholders was down 26.6 per cent from $44 million to $32.3 million, due to losses suffered from the sale of property development projects in Macau. Earnings per share were 7.8 cents, down from 21.8 cents in 1996. The final recommended dividend was two cents per share.