Ming Pao Enterprise posted a 537 per cent growth in interim profit boosted by an increase in advertising sales and improved economic conditions. The newspaper and magazine publisher recorded a net profit of HK$50.2 million for the six months to September 30, compared with HK$7.9 million in the previous corresponding period. Earnings per share were 12.8 HK cents, up from two HK cents a year ago. The company recommended a interim dividend of three HK cents. Turnover was 8.5 per cent better at HK$666.4 million, while operating profit tripled to HK$64.7 million against HK$20.3 million before. Analysts said Ming Pao had seen a substantial increase in advertising during the period by dotcom and property companies and also by financial institutions connected to the launch of the Mandatory Provident Fund. The general improvement in economic conditions in Hong Kong also lifted sales of media operators, analysts said. Ming Pao Enterprise publishes Chinese newspaper Ming Pao Daily and entertainment magazine Ming Weekly (Ming Zhou). On Tuesday, newspaper publisher Oriental Press Group posted strong growth due to improved advertising sales. The company posted a profit of HK$170.8 million for the half year to September 30, against a HK$63.18 million loss a year earlier. The better result came from an 11.7 per cent gain in turnover from a year earlier to HK$1.23 billion. Analysts expected newspaper and media stocks to continue their revenue and profit growth in the second half from the accelerated advertising sales generated by the continued economic recovery. October's HK$1 rise in the sale price of all Chinese newspapers, to HK$6, will also have an impact on improving newspaper proprietors' earnings during the second half year, according to analysts. Ming Pao's shares were unchanged at HK$1.95 yesterday.