Property developer Beijing North Star hopes to be selected as a key developer of projects associated with the 2008 Olympic Games, being held in its hometown. It would be particularly interested in securing rights to develop the Olympic Village in partnership with other domestic and foreign developers, a company official said. The firm is also eager to be a developer of the World Trade Building, expected to cost 10 billion yuan (about HK$9.37 billion). It is part of an estimated 60 billion yuan outlay on housing and ancillary Games facilities. The H share, majority-owned by the Beijing municipal government, outlined its Olympic hopes after posting a 28.7 per cent year-on-year lift in first-half net profit to 103.21 million yuan. The result was in line with the performance of other mainland property plays which have reported robust earnings in the half. Beijing North Star grew on increased home and land sales, but cost controls and tax rebates also helped the bottom line. These more than offset the fall in earnings from rents and the loss of 2.09 million yuan from restaurant and entertainment operations. Turnover edged up 6.4 per cent, to 969.12 million yuan, and operating profit was 21.08 per cent higher at 97.47 million yuan. Earnings per share were up 1.2 fen to 5.5 fen. No interim dividend will be paid. The Olympic projects include three stadiums, a convention centre, the World Trade Building and the Olympic Village. Beijing North Star vice-president He Jiangchuan said it wanted to be a project leader and would form a company to introduce more investors to the project. Olympic projects will also be partly funded by the company's anticipated A-share issue, pending Beijing's approval for specific projects. The firm owns the 700,000 square metres of space on three lots where the Olympic Village will be built. Analysts warned that over-enthusiasm for Olympic concept stocks could well drive up the stock price but Beijing North Star was still mainly a landlord and yet to prove itself as a developer. Meanwhile, mainland-listed property developer China Vanke still owed it 200 million yuan for its stake in Green Garden, a residential property project.