New World Infrastructure (NWI) plans to deliver its first dividend since listing five years ago after reporting a 44.07 per cent gain in profit to HK$1.26 billion in the year to June 30. The infrastructure arm of New World Development said yesterday it would pay 25 HK cents per share because of the promising results. Chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun said: 'NWI is coming off its best year ever. The fact that we announced a dividend for the first time ever is an important gesture to our shareholders.' Mr Cheng said the group hoped to maintain the dividend payout policy in future but that business performance would determine whether a dividend would be paid next year. The company attributed the strong performance to the contribution from the technology segment. NWI said the disposal of chinadotcom shares contributed 34 per cent, or HK$709.2 million, of the HK$2.05 billion attributable operating profit. Despite the 55 per cent increase in attributable operating profit, net profit did not rise in tandem as head office items rose to HK$790.92 million from HK$450.07 million a year ago. Interest expense as a component of head office items was HK$125 million greater than the previous year, it said. A provision of HK$232.43 million was charged for the diminution in value in the investment in Jiangsu Expressway and cement projects, compared with HK$250.87 million previously. Mr Cheng said the company's recurring income would be boosted by capitalising on its existing portfolio of investments and developing new profit centres. NWI said it planned to consolidate infrastructure business and build a larger presence in the technology area. It expected attributable operating profit from top-performing projects, such as Guangzhou City Northern Ring Road, would further improve. Meanwhile, New World China Land announced 22.37 per cent growth in net profit to HK$203.52 million for the year to June 30. Turnover was HK$607.03 million, an 11.36 per cent rise from HK$545.07 million in the preceding year. Earnings per share were 13.9 HK cents, against 12.7 cents previously. The company said it would continue to focus on residential development in China, which was expected to provide reasonable profit in future. China's imminent entry to the World Trade Organisation has created increased demand for office space and hotels, according to the company. The group's investment property portfolio was set to grow in coming years to capture the rising needs of commercial properties, it said.