Mainland developer Shanghai Forte Land said it would increase its sales target this year after interim profit soared 696.8 per cent from a year earlier. Net profit for the six months to June was 287 million yuan (HK$325.6 million), while revenue surged 93.9 per cent to two billion yuan thanks to rising home sales amid feverish demand on the mainland. With a land bank of 7.7 million square metres in 11 cities, the firm is aiming for contract sales of 680,000 sqmetres this year, up from a target of 625,000 sqmetres set in March. Forte said it planned to launch 4.8 billion yuan in new projects in the second half, 66 per cent of them in Shanghai. The projects, totalling 495,500 sqmetres, could be sold at an average of 9,000 yuan per square metre, 12.5 per cent above the 8,000 yuan level a year ago, it estimated. Chief executive Fan Wei expected property sales not to be dampened much by mortgage tightening. The government enacted supportive measures in the first half to lower mortgage rates, which spurred a market rebound. 'The market will become stable after more projects are released in the following months, but growing momentum remains as demand continues to surge from the growing resident population in the main cities,' Mr Fan said. Forte said it would budget five billion yuan for capital expenditure this year, including two land purchases in Nanjing and Chengdu. Net cash at the end of June was 2.89 billion yuan. The company plans to reduce its debt level from 101 per cent to a net gearing ratio of 70 to 80 per cent. It announced that a domestic bond sale of up to 1.9 billion yuan was approved by the China Securities Regulatory Commission on Monday. The firm is also applying for an A-share initial public offering to sell 285 million shares, which accounts for 10 per cent of the enlarged share capital. Shares in Forte rose as much as 8.26 per cent yesterday before closing at HK$2.29, up 5.05 per cent. No interim dividend was declared.