Television producer seeks 2.5b yuan to buy control of Sterope Shares of Shanghai-listed Sichuan Changhong Electric, a major television maker, rose to a one-year high yesterday after it announced a plan to raise more than 2.5 billion yuan to acquire a plasma television manufacturer. The stock rose 9.96 per cent to close at 9.27 yuan. It has gained 161 per cent over the past 12 months. Sichuan Changhong said in a Shanghai stock exchange announcement it would sell 400 million A shares for at least 6.27 yuan each to 10 institutional investors The company said it would use the proceeds largely to buy a 75 per cent stake in Sterope Investments from Sichuan Century Shuanghong Display Devices. Sichuan Century Shuanghong, in which Sichuan Changhong owns 80 per cent, bought the Sterope stake for US$99.9 million. Sterope owns 100 per cent of South Korean plasma-display panel manufacturer Orion. The purchase will allow the company to expand further in the plasma market. Sichuan Changhong is one of the few Chinese television makers with a strong presence in the plasma market, as most of its peers focus on liquid-crystal display television manufacturing. Plasma television sets usually have bigger screens. However, LCD television units are more popular due to abundant supply and their quick technological evolution. According to the Ministry of Information Industry, Chinese television makers produced 5.9 million LCD television sets in the first nine months of last year, 136 per cent higher than in the same period in 2005. Only 482,000 plasma televisions were made, 13 per cent lower year on year. Sichuan Changhong said its board had approved the private placement plan, which would be discussed in a shareholders' meeting on an unspecified date. The proposed purchase followed an announcement of a 320 per cent surge in fourth-quarter net profit, driven by new, non-television products and an investment gain. Net profit rose to 84.6 million yuan in the quarter to December from 20.1 million yuan for the same period a year earlier, as sales climbed 36 per cent to 6.6 billion yuan. Sichuan Changhong began selling refrigerators and mobile communications devices in the past two years. The company said it would continue to develop these lines but did not give details of the earnings. It aimed to sell two million handsets last year. The new products will be important for the company because the country's television makers are struggling to make a profit as the market shifts rapidly to LCD screens.