MTR Corp has warned that the strong growth in the first six months of the year will not be repeated in the second half. The semi-privatised utility - the controlling shareholder of controversial smart-card issuer Octopus - said yesterday underlying profit jumped 46.6 per cent to HK$5.72 billion, or HK$1 per share, in the first half amid the economic recovery and more sales of apartments. However, chief executive Chow Chung-kong said there were still uncertainties surrounding the developed economies and the corporation's growth in the second half would taper off, partly because of a higher base of comparison last year. Following the apology of MTR chairman Raymond Chien Kuo-fung last week on Octopus' sale of personal information of cardholders, Chow also attempted to ease public outrage yesterday. He said the Octopus board was in talks to bring the company back onto the right track by focusing on its mainstay business as an electronic currency service provider. 'It has drifted away from its core business, which is supposedly an electronic currency platform,' he said. 'We are revising its business model so that it can meet its commercial targets while serving the public.' Chow said the Octopus board would co-operate with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Privacy Commissioner in the investigation over the sale of personal data to third parties for HK$44 million over the past 4 1/2 years. Last week, the board decided to donate the money made from the data sale to charity. Chow said the board would also make a decision over Octopus cards being used for access control in residential and commercial buildings and schools. Since its inception 16 years ago, Octopus has extended its tentacles from its core electronic fare collection system for public transport, into small-value payments at supermarkets, restaurants and shops. In the first half, Octopus contributed 13.2 per cent more in profit - HK$77 million - to MTR, its biggest shareholder with a 57.4 per cent stake. There were 21.7 million Octopus cards in circulation. Despite Chow's warning of a slower second half, MTR raised train fares, by 2.05 per cent, in June for the first time in 13 years. MTR's turnover soared 63.4 per cent to HK$14.1 billion in the first half to June. That includes a maiden revenue of HK$4.85 billion from its railway franchise business outside Hong Kong. Fare revenue in Hong Kong rose 7.3 per cent to HK$5.93 billion while station commercial, rental and property management performed better than previously. Net profit, including a HK$1.1 billion surplus in investment property revaluation, soared 47.6 per cent to HK$6.64 billion, or HK$1.16 per share. The interim dividend remained the same at 14 HK cents per share. MTR's profit on property developments surged 72.6 per cent to HK$3.7 billion, largely from the sales of flats at Le Prestige at Lohas Park in Tseung Kwan O and some remaining flats at the Palazzo in Fo Tan and Lake Silver in Wu Kai Sha. MTR shares dropped 50 HK cents or 1.7 per cent to close at HK$28.20 yesterday before the results announcement.