Dongfang Electrical Machinery is banking on new orders from the hydro and nuclear power sectors to offset a slowdown in demand from the coal-fired power equipment market. Chairman Zhu Yuanchao said yesterday that the market was 'gradually returning to a reasonable track' after blistering growth in the past few years driven by power shortages and a plant construction boom. 'The market will see a shift in demand from coal plants to hydro plants, given more than 60 per cent of our new orders last year were for hydro units,' he said. 'We are confident of being able to expand our market share despite the market shift.' Thanks to a surge in demand for new power plants, Dongfang on Thursday reported a 111.8 per cent annual surge in net profit to 534.98 million yuan for last year, while this year's first quarter saw net profit grow 50.73 per cent year on year to 136.93 million yuan. The company hopes to get at least three billion yuan worth of new orders this year after obtaining 5.7 billion yuan of new orders last year and one billion yuan in the first two months of this year. Of last year's new orders, 3.4 billion yuan was for hydro equipment and 1.2 billion yuan for coal-fired generators. The company also won a contract worth 200 million yuan to supply generators to two 1,000 megawatt nuclear plants in Lingao, Guangdong. These are expected to be delivered from 2008 and will change the company's sales mix to more hydro-oriented products. More hydro projects will be up for grabs. The 12,600-megawatt Xiluodu and 6,000-megawatt Xiangjiaba hydro projects are expected to start tendering for equipment in the second half, according to executive director Gong Dan. They are expected to come on stream between 2014 and 2017. Dongfang is a major supplier to the Three Gorges hydro project. However, coal power equipment will still dominate its output this year, with 20,000 megawatts of coal units and 3,000 megawatts of hydro units expected.