Interest income from a float by cosmetics retailer Sa Sa International Holdings in June last year helped boost net attributable profit by 76.3 per cent to $278.4 million in the year to March. The profit included an exceptional item of $62.3 million consisting of interest earned on cash received from new share applications during its listing. Turnover rose 26.13 per cent to $1.24 billion, while earnings per share were 21.7 cents, up 35 per cent from 16 cents a year earlier. A final dividend of 4.4 cents plus a special dividend of 4.6 cents will be paid. Chairman Kwok Siu-ming said the devaluation of Asian currencies had only a limited effect on overseas operations, which accounted for 16 per cent of turnover during the year. Although profit margins were squeezed by the currency devaluations, this was offset to a significant degree by the timing of its entry into the Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia markets and its hedging policies, he said. By the end of the year, Sa Sa had 22 outlets in the region employing 930 people. It said the Hong Kong and Macau operations would continue to be the main engine of earnings. They accounted for 84 per cent of turnover during the year. Sa Sa plans to reduce its reliance on the tourist trade - which equalled about 40 per cent of turnover in the 1996-97 financial year - with five outlets opened during the year outside tourist districts. It has used $74 million of the listing proceeds to finance the opening of new outlets in Hong Kong and $155 million for overseas expansion.