LAM Soon (Hong Kong) said yesterday that profits last year nearly doubled after the sale of interests in two subsidiaries and the disposal of property. The company, one of the few bright spots recently in the otherwise poorly performing stock market, said profits attributable to shareholders jumped 97.4 per cent to $290.9 million for the year ended December 31, from $147.3 million in fiscal 1992, while earnings per share rose to 99 cents from 50 cents. However, turnover climbed a modest 8.2 per cent to $2.4 billion, from $2.2 billion. The board of directors proposed a 33 per cent rise in the final dividend to 20 cents from 15 cents. Chairman Whang Tor Choung said last year was a watershed year for Lam Soon because management had shifted its focus from manufacturing and marketing activities in Hong Kong to industrial and marketing management in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, and had capitalised on the value of its property assets in Hong Kong. Lam Soon's stock, which had hovered at about $5 since a sharp drop earlier this year, has jumped 20.2 per cent, or $1, to $5.95 since March 21, with trading volume in the generally thinly-traded counter exceeding 500,000 shares in three of the past four sessions. Lam Soon's bottom line was boosted by a $230.4 million exceptional gain from the dilution of interests in Lam Soon Food Industries and MC Packaging, which generated $108 million, and the sale of property in Hong Kong for $122 million. Without these gains, Lam Soon's operating profit rose 10.8 per cent to $161.1 million from $145.3 million. The company's results were hurt by its industrial operations, which generated profit of $61 million due to weaker performances by Lam Soon Food and MC Packaging despite rebounds in the second half of the year. Lam Soon said it believed the two publicly listed companies would be able to justify capital-raising exercises launched last year, which allowed them to aggressively pursue opportunities in China. Lam Soon Food Industries said yesterday profits tumbled 47 per cent to $33.9 million for the year to December 31, from $64 million a year earlier. Turnover dipped 3.1 per cent to $698.9 million. Mr Whang said despite a 70 per cent growth in profits during the second half, Lam Soon Food's profitability would be restricted until it could produce large quantities of flour in China. He said the market profile of Lam Soon Food's major brands continued to increase and strong footholds had been established around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In January, Lam Soon Hong Kong announced plans for joint ventures in Beijing to make health drinks and computer software.