Broker Tai Fook Securities yesterday said it would close two of its 10 branches in Hong Kong by the first quarter next year in a bid to cut costs and stay profitable. The closures, according to managing director Peter Wong Shiu-hoi, will allow the securities dealer to achieve a further 10 per cent cut in operating expenses for the second half of its financial year. Tai Fook, which in July declared a net loss of HK$118.25 million for the year to March 31, said at its interim results announcement yesterday that it had returned to the black, posting a net profit of HK$10.55 million for the first half to September 30. This compared with a net loss of HK$45.5 million in the same period last year. Mr Wong said the return to profit was due to aggressive cost-cutting measures, which had seen operating expenses fall 31 per cent compared with the first half last year. However, turnover was almost stagnant at HK$144.78 million, compared with HK$145.89 million previously. Mr Wong said the broker had cut its staff numbers from about 500 to the current level of 370. Staff also had their pay cut 10 per cent while a 13-month bonus was eliminated. Mr Wong said he was confident that Tai Fook Securities would continue to post a profit.