Hongkong Electric Holdings (HKE) saw core earnings maintain steady growth in the first half of the year. However, it recorded an 8.5 per cent decline in attributable profits due to the lack of new contributions from a property venture. The company which serves Hong Kong Island and Lamma Island, made $1.91 billion in the six months to June 30 compared to $2.08 billion in the same period last year. In the first half of last year profits were bolstered by a $281 million contribution from its 20 per cent held associate Secan. It sold 500 car parking spaces at South Horizons to Guoco Land last year for $400 million. HKE's core turnover rose 12.2 per cent to $4.03 billion helped by growing demand because of the completion of new commercial buildings on Hong Kong Island. Earnings per share however fell from $1.03 a share to 94 cents. Despite the fall in profits the interim dividend was raised by 6 per cent to 53.5 cents a share. Unit sales of electricity rose by 7.7 per cent during the period, HKE said. Chairman George Magnus said up to the time of yesterday's report, the company had recorded a new maximum demand figure of 2,316 megawatts, 5 per cent higher than last year's maximum figure. 'The actual growth in demand for electricity is encouraging, as a result of the completion of buildings and major infrastructural works,' he said. The report contained no news of any ventures outside Hong Kong saying only: 'Investment proposals are subject to rigorous evaluation against conservative and prudent criteria to ensure good returns are available.'