Solartech International Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed cable maker whose shares have gained more than 300 per cent this year, said its sales of cables and wires may treble in the year to June, aided by acquisitions in Europe and Brazil. Solartech, which in July bought Whirlpool's Brascabos subsidiary in Brazil for US$10 million, said it plans to spend a similar amount to buy another cable and wire company in Europe in the near future. 'The company we will buy in Europe and Brascabos can triple our sales in cable and wire products,' chairman Chau Lai-him said. Solartech, which supplies companies such as Whirlpool, Royal Philips Electronics and LG Electronics with copper parts for use in air-conditioners and refrigerators, is looking to boost sales after a return to profit in the year to June depended heavily on gains in copper forward contracts. The company turned to a net profit of HK$114 million for the year on sales of HK$2.1 billion from a net loss of HK$61 million for the 15 months to June 2005, on turnover of HK$2.06 billion. The profit included an exceptional gain of HK$79 million from the realisation of copper forward contracts and foreign exchange forward contracts, which the firm bought for hedging and risk management purposes. 'Although copper is the raw material of Solartech's wire products, we do not want a drop in its price, because we also sell copper rods to other customers through our subsidiary, Hua Yi Copper Holdings,' Mr Chau said. Gains from the sale of copper rods, which accounted for 57 per cent of Solartech's revenue, came mainly from 60 per cent-owned subsidiary Hua Yi. The products can be further processed to become copper wires. 'Hua Yi sells only 20 per cent of its products to Solartech and can fully satisfy Solartech's demand,' said Mr Chau, who is also the chairman of Hua Yi. The average price of copper traded on the London Metal Exchange for the 12 months to June was US$5,052, a 67 per cent gain over the previous 18 months. The surge in copper prices helped boost Hua Yi's profit for the year to June to HK$90 million on turnover of HK$1.5 billion compared with net profit of HK$20.4 million on HK$1.45 billion turnover for the previous 18 months. Hua Yi has increased its annual production capacity of copper rods by 118 per cent to 144,000 tonnes after establishing a recycling plant in Changling, Jiangsu, in August and installing machinery at its Dongguan headquarters in September. It will further boost capacity to 164,000 tonnes by operating a joint-venture factory in Shang Hang, Fujian province, next year with Zijin Mining Group, a Hong Kong-listed copper provider. Cables and wires account for 31 per cent of Solartech's sales. The firm has the capacity to produce about 84 million sets annually in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, and 36.5 million sets in Shang Hang. Solartech also sells connectors and terminals or wire harness products which account for 7 per cent of its total sales. Shares in Solartech, which have gained 334 per cent since December, closed unchanged at HK$1.05 on Friday.