QPL International Holdings has reported a 27.43 per cent drop in profits due to substantial investments in production equipment, developing technologies and training employees. Profit of $146.14 million for the year ended April 30 included a hefty exceptional gain of $63.7 million, compared with an $11.38 million exceptional gain in the previous corresponding period. Chairman Li Tung-lok said the group also incurred extra depreciation, interest charges and overhead expenses amounting to $94 million. Turnover rose 11.68 per cent to $1.68 billion from $1.5 billion. Earnings per fully diluted share fell to 41.9 cents from 53.6 cents. The company resolved to pay a final dividend of five cents a share, compared with 12 cents adjusted for the four-into-one share consolidation to shareholders. During the year, the company had paid preference dividends of 3.34 cents per share to the holders of those shares for the period from May 1 to December 31 last year. The company bought back 2.53 million units of its 1993 warrants, 1.03 million of its preference shares, and 3.34 million ordinary shares for $3.07 million, $518,152 and $3.26 million, respectively. Mr Li said the vast capital expenditure had allowed the group to expand its capacity to meet the current and future market demand caused by the shortage in integrated circuit manufacturing assembly capacity. Due to the nature of the industry requirements, most of the product qualification processes required lengthy evaluation, he said. Many of the products had now been approved and would be in production, he said. Mr Li said the directors were anticipating ''substantial growth in business''. Development expenses incurred during the year in process improvements had resulted in productivity increases and cost reductions, he said. ''It is anticipated that the group will experience substantial growth in profitability,'' Mr Li said. Earlier this year, the company issued 80 million shares of two cents each at $1.20 per share and raised about $94 million through a share placement exercise. The money was used for purchase of equipment and for working capital. Mr Li said the group had become a multi-international semiconductor corporation after acquiring Newport Waferfab in Wales and ASAT in Nancy, France. Certification of 1SO 9002 of all major operating units had given the company a quality image, he said, adding the group had made substantial investment in this regard. About its lead-frame operation, Mr Li said the group was set to become one of the few suppliers in the world which had both stamping and etching capabilities. The group has six high-precision, high-speed and fully automated stamping lines, with a capacity of 30 million units per month.