HONGKONG Electric Hold ings generates and supplies electricity and is an engineering consultant and project manager. Electricity generated by the group supplies most of the SAR's consumers. The blue-chip company has been given an underperform rating, with low risk, by Salmon Smith Barney. The brokerage said it was lowering its 1999 and 2000 net profit forecasts by 1.7 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively, based on new capex assumptions. Hongkong Electric's first-half 1999 results rose only 1.5 per cent year on year to $1.93 billion, below Salomon's expectations. The brokerage said unit sales growth was negative in the period. 'The stock still has its defensive appeal, but with the growth story under pressure, we are retaining our underperform, low-risk rating,' Salomon said. First-half results were disappointing. It appeared the shortfall was the result of lower-than-expected capex. Given the cautious tone of the market, Salomon said it did not expect the stock to be punished by investors, but it might give back some of its recent out-performance.