China Resources Gas Group (CR Gas), which posted a 58 per cent surge in first-half earnings to HK$554.91 million, expects the rapid growth to sustain into the second half, bolstered by acquisitions. CR Gas says it expects much of its growth from the proposed purchase of seven city piped-gas projects from its parent China Resources Holdings, a state-owned conglomerate. The acquisition is a HK$1.71 billion deal that is pending minority shareholders' approval on August 31. In the first half of this year, the seven projects recorded sales of 205.8 million cubic metres, or 6 per cent of the firm's total of 3.36 billion cubic metres. They mostly serve industrial and commercial customers in Guangdong province, Yueyang, Hunan and Anyang, Henan. The projects mark the fourth batch of assets that China Resources Holdings has sold to its city gas distribution flagship since 2008, and adds to the existing 57-strong portfolio. The third batch of assets, bought in 2010, comprise nine city gas projects. In the first half, they generated a 45 per cent rise in CR Gas' sales to 3.36 billion cubic metres and a 68 per cent jump in revenue to HK$5.51 billion. Earnings per share rose in the first half rose 19.23 per cent to 31 HK cents, but the interim dividend stayed flat at 2 HK cents per share. The stock gained 46 HK cents, or 4.37 per cent, to HK$10.98 yesterday after the results announcement.