Stabilising polyester prices helped Yizheng Chemical Fibre pull back from a disastrous first half to post a better than expected full-year net loss of 174.72 million yuan (about HK$162.62 million). The result indicates the company made a net profit of 8.8 million yuan in the second half. It lost as much as 183.56 million yuan in the first half as prices plunged due to smuggling and an influx of cheaper imports from regional rivals. Prices started to stabilise in the second half in the wake of an anti-smuggling drive. Yizheng, the world's fourth-largest polyester-maker, made a net profit of 44.3 million yuan in 1997. Turnover last year fell 9.9 per cent to 5.63 billion yuan. No final dividend will be paid. An analyst with a European brokerage house said prices of Yizheng's four principal product categories fell by an average of 17 to 23 per cent last year. He said this was in line with the sector's decline. Product prices and volume should have improved in the second half from July's level, due to the high-profile anti-smuggling campaign and seasonal factors. 'Polyester prices in the first quarter of 1999 have risen compared with the end of last year, marking the first non-seasonal uptick since 1995,' the analyst said. In the first three months of this year, product prices had been fairly stable on a month on month basis, although they still represented declines compared with a year earlier, he said. The analyst said if the prices could be sustained for the rest of the year, the H share might be able to make a profit for the full year.