Red chip Oriental Metals (Holdings)' net profit slumped 54.4 per cent to HK$3.15 million in the six months to June 30, on falling metal prices. The company, ultimately controlled by state-owned China National Non-Ferrous Metals, warned of a difficult second half in view of the region's market uncertainties. The results were further dragged down by associated companies' losses of HK$4.77 million. Turnover fell 12.8 per cent to HK$1.15 billion in the first half. Diluted earnings per share were 0.39 HK cent, down from the previous' 1.11 HK cents. No interim dividend will be paid. Vice chairman Cui Guisheng said: 'Continued weakness in the prices of global non-ferrous metals was the major reason for the . . . drop in turnover.' During the period, copper and aluminium prices fell 25 per cent and 13 per cent, from last year's US$2,277 and US$1,600 a tonne to US$1,700 and US$1,400 respectively. However, the losses incurred by its non-ferrous metals' related industries were more than offset by its trading division, which saw 76 per cent and 27 per cent growth in the trading of copper and aluminium respectively, over a year earlier. In all, the trading division recorded a 29 per cent increase in profit contribution from a year ago.