Shougang Concord International, the listed flagship of mainland steel giant Shougang, posted a loss of HK$652.76 million for the year to December. The red chip was hit during the year by provisions for bad debts, disposal of loss-making assets and a steel industry slump. In 1998, the company had a loss of HK$413.82 million mostly because of provisions for bad debts. Its associate Shougang Century Holdings posted a smaller loss of HK$65.61 million, against the net loss of HK$196.72 million in 1998, while other member Shougang Concord Grand Group reported a 9.99 per cent fall to HK$18.18 million in its profit. Nonetheless, Shougang Concord Technology Holdings achieved a significant improvement, by posting a 30.4 per cent rise to HK$26.13 million in net profit. During the year, Shougang Concord International made HK$109.93 million provisions for bad debts. It had an operating loss of HK$266.6 million, which included the loss incurred from the sale of its 25 per cent loss-making bulk-carrier Associated Bulk Carriers to Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation. In the year, the company also made a loss of HK$97.6 million, partly arising from the sale of its stake in Shougang Technology to Shougang Grand. Last June, Shougang Concord International sold its 46.7 per cent stake in Shougang Technology to Shougang Grand for HK$163.6 million as part of the whole group's scheme to streamline its corporate structure. The scheme was aimed to secure better financial support for its member companies. Shougang Concord International said its results were also hit by the disappointing steel industry last year, but the company expects to see an improvement this year amid the recovery of steel prices. Loss per share was 35.3 HK cents, against 23.2 HK cents the previous year. Directors did not declare any dividends. Shougang Century, a minerals and metals trader, reported a turnover of HK$227.12 million. This represented a 76.45 per cent fall compared with HK$964.7 million in 1998. Loss per share was 8.57 HK cents, against loss per share of 25.7 HK cents a year before. The company said it would continue to dispose of the non-core business and assets to improve its financial position. Shougang Century said it would also start cutting costs and concentrate on its financial resources to develop its core businesses of manufacturing steel cord and trading copper and brass products. In December, the company discontinued electrical wire processing by disposal of the business, in view of the gloomy prospects of the electrical wire processing sector amid intense price competition. Last month, the company revealed it has agreed to dispose of its 26 per cent of Shanghai Shenjia Metal Products as part of its sale programme. During the year, Shougang Century's gearing ratio fell to 33 per cent from 63 per cent in December 1998. Turnover of telephone maker Shougang Technology rose to HK$742.58 million, up from HK$649.51 million. Operating profit declined to HK$343,000 from HK$3.47 million and associated income rose to HK$30.67 million from HK$18.99 million. Earnings per share were 3.3 HK cents, up from 2.5 HK cents. Shougang Grand, engaged in property investment and development and financial services, posted a turnover of HK$24.78 million. This represented a 40.3 per cent drop compared with HK$41.53 million in 1998. Earnings per share fell to 2.42 HK cents from 2.96 HK cents the preceding year. During the year, the company had a finance cost of HK$6.65 million, significantly higher than 1998s HK$2.82 million.