China Overseas Land & Investment posted record-high interim earnings in the six months to June, thanks to rising property sales. The mainland developer, controlled by the Ministry of Construction, said net profit jumped 31.6 per cent to HK$3.04 billion from HK$2.31 billion last year. Turnover surged 44.40 per cent to HK$15.48 billion. The company declared an interim dividend of 7 HK cents per share, 16.67 per cent more than a year ago. The results were higher than most analysts forecast, largely because of better property sales. Sales from property development jumped 47.21 per cent to HK$15.06 billion, while profit climbed 19.72 per cent to HK$5.22 billion. Overall gross profit margin fell to 37.3 per cent from 47.9 per cent a year earlier as sales in the period came mainly from second-tier cities, said chairman Kong Qingping. Analysts had widely expected margins to decline because of poor market sentiment last year. Property sales began slowing in many cities in July, sparking concerns the market may have taken a breather. But Mr Kong was upbeat. 'Seventy per cent of the units at many of our projects sold out on the first day,' he said. The property market will perform largely in line with the broader economy, which is expected to show steady and moderate growth. 'There will not be major adverse changes in the [government's] policies towards the real estate market, although some fine-tuning is possible,' said Mr Kong, who raised the firm's annual sales target from 3.5 million to 4.3 million square metres. Separately, the developer announced its first land acquisition for the year - three parcels of land in Shandong provincial capital Jinan with a total gross floor area of 2.63 million sqmetres. That takes its land bank to 25.63 million sqmeters. Sister company China State Construction International Holdings said interim profit jumped 17.93 per cent to HK$303.35 million, while turnover rose 1.66 per cent to HK$5.5 billion.