Nomura has lifted its fair-value estimate on China Netcom, the smallest of the mainland's four state-controlled telecommunications majors, after it announced a sharp increase in profit for the first half of this year and acquisition of four unlisted networks. The broker increased its value estimate on the stock to $16.67 from $14.40 and reiterated its 'buy' recommendation. The counter closed on Friday at $13.70. Netcom announced a net profit of 4.93 billion yuan for the half, an increase of 28 per cent year on year, owing to lower costs. It said its purchase of four networks from its parent, China Network Communications Group Corp - in Heilongjiang, Jilin, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia - would lift estimated earnings per share by 13.8 per cent. Reflecting the stronger result and increased potential, Nomura says it has increased estimated earnings per share for 2005-07 by 14-17 per cent.