H share China Shipping Development, the mainland's dominant tanker operator, made a first-quarter net profit of 176.32 million yuan (about HK$166.38) on revenue of 1.16 billion yuan. Figures for the same period last year were unavailable for comparison as the company has only been listed in Shanghai as an A share since May last year. China Shipping was able to maintain decent earnings by offloading its loss-making container operations last year, ING Financial Markets analyst Lilian Leung said. The firm sold its 25 per cent stake in China Shipping Container Lines to its parent for one yuan in September. Container shipping operations lost 100.1 million yuan in nine months last year, compared with a 281 million yuan full-year deficit in 2001. 'Cutting the 100 million yuan loss makes a great difference for the company,' Ms Leung said. She painted a rosy picture for China Shipping this year, with surging demand for coal and oil in China to supply power for a rapidly growing economy. The company would also benefit from improved margins with a lowering of oil prices in the second quarter. 'Our full-year net profit forecast is 742 million yuan and the first quarter results are in line with our expectation. According to our calculations, its sales grew almost 11 per cent in the first three months,' said Ms Leung. 'The first quarter is the traditional low season and I think earnings will have a larger growth in the second and third quarters.' The firm accounts for about 80 per cent of the mainland's domestic coastal crude oil transportation and 54 per cent of domestic coal transportation.