China Pharmaceutical Enterprise and Investment Corp (CPE), a maker of Vitamin C and penicillin products, saw sales soar by 50 per cent year on year in the first quarter. Its share price rose nine cents, or 7.37 per cent, to close at $1.31 yesterday. CPE director and deputy general manager Ding Er Gang said turnover reached $274 million in the first quarter, an increase of about 50 per cent compared with the same period last year. The company expected full-year turnover to be over $1 billion, compared with $596.3 million last year. Net profit last year was $111.1 million. Mr Ding said CPE's new product, cefajorin, would become another major profit contributor in the second half. Mr Ding said CPE started producing cefajorin in June, and expected to make 100 tonnes this year, helping the company to generate about $330 million in revenue. 'This new product yields 55 per cent gross profit margin, which is the highest among all our products. It can help to improve our average profit margin.' 'We expect this year's overall gross profit margin to improve to 40 per cent, compared with 31.2 per cent last year.' CPE also expects to complete expansion of Vitamin C production by September, raising monthly production to over 850 tonnes from 455 tonnes.