NEW World Development saw net profit for the year ended June 30 rise 46.5 per cent to $3.46 billion, at the low end of market expectations. Earnings per share surged 34.78 per cent to $2.17 on a fully diluted basis and 37.65 per cent to $2.23 basic. Managing director Henry Cheng Kar-shun signalled the group's commitment to telecommunications, the development of earnings from investment in China and the satisfactory performance of its hotel operations. The dividend for the year amounted to 87 cents, up 27.9 per cent. Gross rental income was $1.28 billion, representing a contribution of 22 per cent to the group's operating profit. Mr Cheng said the economic slowdown in China was a healthy feature of mainland fiscal policy. The group expects to have 20 to 25 per cent of net asset value designated for investment in China, primarily in infrastructure and property development. ''While the group has placed considerable emphasis on China, property development activities in Hong Kong continue to constitute the core business for the group,'' said Mr Cheng. He said Hong Kong and China represented viable markets for investment and these areas would remain the primary focus of activity. Turnover was up seven per cent to $13.32 billion, the operating profit margin rose 10 percentage points to 31 per cent, and operating profit came to $4.14 billion, up 44.9 per cent. The implied tax payment was 13.6 per cent, compared with 12.2 per cent in the previous year, and the dividend payout ratio slid from 45 per cent to 39.5 per cent. According to The Estimate Directory, the consensus net profit expectation was for 52 per cent growth to $3.6 billion with earnings per share up 47 per cent to $2.27. The group has some 50 million sq metres of land in China through joint partnerships. Next year, for the first time, the group has set out those investments expected to start contributing to operating profit and cash flow. They include infrastructure developments such as the Zhujiang thermal power station, the Guangzhou northern ring road, the Shenzhen-Huizhou expressway (Huizhou section), the Wuhan airport highway and the Wuhan Tianhe airport. In property development, the group expects two projects to kick in, being Dongguan New World Square and Dongguan New World Garden, and the Wuhan World Trade Centre Extension. In hotels and other projects, the Wuhan Taibei New World Hotel and the Wuhan-New World Refrigeration Industrial Corp were mentioned. Mr Cheng said: ''One of the most important investments of the group in the next decade will be in telecommunications in Hong Kong and China.'' The group is one of seven bidding for the second telecommunications network in Hong Kong with plans to make an initial investment of $1 billion in the sector. ''In Hong Kong, our plan is to create an interactive voice, data and image 'superhighway' which will be second to none in the world. ''This will be spearheaded by New World Telephone, which has applied for a Fixed Telecommunications Network Service licence.'' The bid is being undertaken in a consortium with partners including US West - one of America's regional Bell operating companies - INFA Telecom Asia and a subsidiary of the Shanghai Long Distance Telecommunications Bureau. US West is the eighth largest regional Bell in the United States with a turnover of US$10.28 billion and a 1993 price-earnings multiple of about 17.5, according to data from S.G. Warburg Securities. New World Hotels International saw better times in Hong Kong as customer demand and room supply found equilibrium. In China, the group is pursuing management contracts in Qingdao, Dalian, Wuhan and Harbin. It added two hotels in Burma, including the Strand, while hotels in Ho Chi Minh City and Manila are scheduled for opening in the second quarter of next year and in Kuala Lumpur in 1995. The Ramada Inn chain added 38 operations to its fold.