First Tractor, the mainland's biggest tractor maker, returned to a net profit of 72.85 million yuan last year from a 50.44 million yuan loss in 2005 as higher rural income boosted sales especially for high-end products. The company planned to spend 200 million yuan this year to increase the capacity of large-wheeled tractors to 50,000 units from 30,000 units for export, executive director Zhang Jing said. First Tractor's revenue increased 30 per cent to 6.1 billion yuan last year, helped by sales of more high-end tractors. Earnings per share were 9.28 fen, against a loss of 6.42 fen in 2005. Sales of tractors, harvesters and other farm machines fell 6 per cent, but that was more than compensated by a 68.9 per cent increase in sales of medium to large-wheeled tractors. 'The disposable income of farmers has increased 6 per cent a year for four years, enabling them to buy large-wheeled tractors,' Mr Zhang said. Losses in construction machinery sales narrowed to 72.6 million yuan year from 122.8 million yuan in 2005. Mr Zhang said the company's late entry into the sector made it difficult to turn around this year. First Tractor also recorded a 1.1 million yuan loss in its engine business, gained through an asset swap with parent company China Yituo Group in August last year. Excluding costs from the swap, the engine business generated a profit of 50 million yuan on turnover of 203.6 million yuan, Mr Zhang said, adding that he was confident that it would provide a profit to the group this year. The company exported 3,175 farm machines and 369 construction machines last year for US$42 million, a 76 per cent increase on 2005. It hopes to increase sales 20 per cent this year. First Tractor shares closed 0.31 per cent firmer at HK$3.25 yesterday.