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SARS hits firm's retail, tourism, toll business
( 2003-09-10 09:59) (China Daily HK Edition)

Red-chip conglomerate Beijing Enterprises Holdings (BEH) posted a 15.9 per cent drop in its first-half net profit as SARS hit its Beijing-focused business on tourism, retail and toll roads.

Net profit of BEH totalled HK$181.84 million (US$23.31 million) during the first six months, with turnover up by 8.9 per cent to HK$3.62 billion (US$464.1 million).

BEH recorded a loss of HK$26.15 million (US$3.35 million) in its tourism and retail unit, which includes Badaling Great Wall, Jianguo Hotel and Wangfujing Department Store Group. The unit posted HK$5.27 million (US$675,640) net profit in the same period last year.

The company also reported declines in many other major units, including the Capital Airport Expressway in Beijing, Beijing Yanjing Brewery Co, Beijing Sanyuan Foods Co and Beijing International Switching System Co (BISC).

The company's 53-per cent-held Shiguang Road in Shenzhen, however, posted close to six times surge in net profit during the period. All of its technology subsidiaries, except for BISC, reported significant increases in net profit.

The newly acquired Beijing Enterprises Ever Source Group, which is engaged in developing cooling and heating systems based on geothermal energy, contributed HK$11.15 million (US$1.43 million) in net profit during the period. BEH holds 66 per cent in the company.

The lower profit contribution from BISC resulted mainly from a lack of tax refund during the period, BEH said.

Although the SARS-hit units had staged a strong recovery, BEH expected a full recovery in the tourism division would take some time.

"We are cautiously optimistic about our profitability prospects for the second half," Chairman Yi Xiqun told reporters yesterday.

Meanwhile, BEH is expected to book about 100 million yuan (US$12.05 million) income from the initial public offering (IPO) of Beijing Sanyuan Foods on the mainland. Trading in shares of the company is scheduled to start next Monday.

BEH would own 57 per cent of Beijing Sanyuan Foods after its IPO, said Bao Zongye, chairman of Beijing Sanyuan Foods.

Bao said Beijing Sanyuan Foods' 50-per cent-owned Beijing McDonald's was expected to have 130 fast-food outlets in Beijing and the provinces of Hebei and Shanxi by the end of next year.

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