NEPTUNE Orient Lines attributes its 36 per cent lift in first-half net profit to recovery in the liquid and dry bulk trades, and service improvements in the container-liner business. The shipping line's net profit for the six months to June 30 stood at S$30.5 million (about HK$148.2 million). It omitted a dividend for the period. Sales swelled 23.5 per cent to S$946 million, while pre-tax profit was higher by 33.9 per cent at $31.9 million. Earnings per share rose from S$4.07 in the first half of 1992, to S$4.61. The group interim results include extraordinary income of S$1.8 million from vessel sales, compared with S$17.1 million in the first half of last year. The group said it expects to report better results in the second half, without giving further details. Neptune Orient Lines owns and operates ships, and is involved in property investment and real estate management. Another winner from improvements in the industry, has been Zim Israel Navigation Co which has reported a pre-tax profit of US$18 million for the first half of this year, up 36.4 per cent over US$13.2 million recorded in the first half of 1992. The net profit after current taxes and provision for deferred taxes, totalled US$9.1 million compared with US$8.1 million in the first half of 1992. Turnover increased by 3.3 per cent to US$608.2 million compared with US$588.5 million in the corresponding period of the previous year and US$1.1 billion for all of 1992. The operating profit (after depreciation and before provision for current and deferred taxes) increased by 26.6 per cent and amounts to US$38.5 million, compared with US$30.4 million the previous year. Fleet renewal and streamlining of operations during 1992 and the first half of this year contributed to the improved financial results, the company said in a statement. The company has increased its activity in several trade areas, including China, the CIS, Romania, and west Africa. The new service opened between the east coasts of North and South America last year also has proved profitable. The number of containers carried during the first half amounted to 341,700 TEU (20 ft equivalent units), compared with 313,000 TEU during the corresponding period. Despite the continued slowdown in most areas of the shipping trade, the resulting fierce competition and the erosion in tariffs, the company succeeded in achieving most of its budget targets. The increase in turnover, volume of cargo carried and operating profit has continued, and the same trend is expected to continue in the second half of this year. Total profit, before deferred and current taxes amounted to US$18 million, with US$1.3 million paid in taxes. In view of considerable investments in vessels and equipment projected for the next few years, the company said it did not expect to incur tax liability in the near future. However, accounting principles required provision for deferred taxes of US$7.6 million. The amount is a provision only and does not represent actual payment of tax.