Red chip Legend Holdings more than doubled its net profit to HK$191.03 million in the three months to June 30. Turnover jumped 72 per cent from a year earlier to HK$5.86 billion. Earnings per share in the period were 2.5 HK cents, up from 1.1 HK cents a year earlier. The mainland's dominant personal computer-maker said earnings were bolstered by sales of Internet-ready computers. Vice-chairman and executive vice-president Li Qin said the sales and earnings growth were partly boosted by Internet-ready access PCs, launched late last year. The company doubled PC shipments to 510,000 units during the period, of which 158,000 units were Internet PCs. General manager Yang Yuanqing said the company anticipated shipping 2.5 million PCs this financial year. About one million of them would be Internet-ready. First-quarter shipments gave Legend an estimated 25 per cent market share, compared with about 21 per cent in the previous corresponding period. Mr Yang said the company had adjusted its full-year sales target upwards by some 500,000 units due to the stronger than expected sales during the first quarter. Sitting on a cash nest egg of HK$1.78 billion, Legend plans to invest at least HK$1 billion in Internet-related businesses in the next three years, according to senior vice-president Mary Ma Xuezheng. The money would be used to invest in acquiring vertical portals, to develop Internet service provider (ISP) infrastructure and access devices, as well as for Internet content development. Mr Yang said the company's newly granted ISP licence would allow it to expand its client base to non-Legend PC users. Although the company expected the Internet operations to contribute a loss of about HK$100 million in the present financial year to March 31, Mr Yang said this side of the business was expected to break even by the next financial year. It has joined with China Telecommunications Corp in providing ISP services. Mr Yang said the ISP access charges were expected to generate significant revenue for Legend's Internet-related operations. Michael Li, an analyst with Worldsec International, said he was surprised by Legend's ability to maintain growth in net profit while other PC manufacturers were seeing their margins squeezed. Legend said its net profit margin rose to 3.26 per cent from 2.35 per cent during the pervious corresponding period. It compared with the industry average of about 2.5 per cent. Chairman Liu Chuanzhi said Legend was aiming to boost its sales to US$10 billion by 2005, and was hoping to join Fortune magazine's world top 500 enterprises by 2010. Shares in Legend yesterday eased 20 HK cents to close at HK$8.80. Brokers attributed the lower price to profit-taking. They said people were using the company's good results as an opportunity to take profits on their holdings.