Net profit at red chip China Pharmaceutical Enterprise and Investment Corp climbed by a meagre 1 per cent to $41.5 million for the six months to June. Turnover rose about 6 per cent to $265.8 million while earnings per share eased 14 per cent to 3.97 cents. No interim dividend was proposed. Chairman Cai Dongchen said prices for vitamin C had remained steady but sales of vitamin C and its derivatives were flat at 2,600 tonnes, down 20 tonnes from a year ago. Mr Cai said profit levels had been maintained as advanced production technology helped reduce production costs. Exports as a proportion of sales fell from 93 per cent to 83 per cent. The company has invested $28 million on a vitamin C derivative production line with an annual production capacity of 2,000 tonnes. Commercial production is due to start this month. It sold 700 tonnes of penicillin products in the period, 25 per cent of which were exported. Mr Cai said: 'Market competition for penicillin products remained keen this year.' He said the company was trying to win market share from smaller competitors.