KOWLOON Motor Bus saw net profit rise 8.05 per cent to $171.7 million in the six months ending June 30 despite a reduction in passenger numbers. Earnings per share rose 7.87 per cent to 42.5 cents and the declared dividend was up one cent to 18 cents. Chairman P.C. Woo said: ''The company will continue to expand its services to cope with the gradual population shift from urban areas to major new towns, particularly Ma On Shan, Tseung Kwan O and Tin Shui Wai.'' The number of passengers was 477 million, 1.2 per cent lower than in the previous period. ''This reduction was mainly due to the effect of the fare increase [up 11.2 per cent] and bad weather in June,'' said Mr Woo. Turnover was up 6.1 per cent to $1.44 billion. Operating profit margin eased slightly from 14.62 per cent to 14.06 per cent. This compares with an average annual profit margin of about 17 per cent over the past five years. Interim profit between 1991 and 1992 rose nine per cent to $158.9 million. The 1993 figures show operating profit rose 2.1 per cent to $202.9 million and profit after tax rose 1.67 per cent to $163.9 million. There was a $7.8 million transfer from the development fund, compared with a $2.3 million transfer into the fund at the same time last year. At the time the group agreed on the fare increase with the Government it also agreed to make a $12 million deduction from its permitted return under the Public Bus Service Ordinance for the financial year ending December 31, 1993, for the implementation of the offer of concessionary fares to senior citizens. Over the period 300 new double-deckers were ordered to meet the requirements of its route development programme. The full impact of a 10.5 per cent wage rise for its 8,990 employees will be felt in the second half. The rise, which was agreed from June 1, will cost an additional $122.3 million a year. The company said it planned to increase its number of air-conditioned buses. ''With the increased deployment of air-conditioned buses, it is expected that the ridership in the summer months will improve and the total ridership for the second half of the year will be maintained at the 1992 level,'' said Mr Woo. According to The Estimate Directory, the consensus forecast among the 14 brokerages which follow the bus company is for nine per cent growth in net profit to $359 million for the year ending December 31. Earnings per share is expected to rise by the same percentage to 89 cents with the dividend rising by eight per cent to 69 cents. For 1994 the market consensus forecasts a rise of eight per cent in net profit to $386 million. Earnings per share is expected to rise by a similar percentage to 96 cents and the dividend is expected to be 74 cents, up seven per cent. On yesterday's close of $12.40 KMB's shares are on prospective price-earnings multiple in 1993 of 13.93. For 1994 the prospective PE is 12.91. The group's prospective yield is 5.56 per cent in 1993 and 5.9 per cent in 1994.