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Surging sales and profits make Blue Star shine bright
( 2004-01-02 23:45) (China Daily)

Chinese chemicals giant Blue Star, which recently grabbed headlines for being the lone bidder for South Korea's Ssangyong Motors, has announced robust growth in sales and profits for 2003.

The State-run company said its sales surged by 67 per cent year-on-year to 10.2 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) last year.

The growth rate is much higher than the average 22 per cent of more than 180 key Chinese enterprises directly controlled by the central government.

The company said its profits rose by 40 per cent last year from a year earlier,but it did not reveal specific figures for the profit margin.

Blue Star last month signed a memorandum of understanding in Seoul with creditors of Ssangyong to buy a 55.4 per cent stake of South Korea's No 4 automaker, beating out General Motors and Ford, and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp -- one of China's biggest vehicle producers.

Blue Star declined to reveal the latest development on the bid, only saying "things are in the process and it will take a period of time.''

Blue Star attributed its strong performance largely to investment in its key business projects, workforce streamlining and a slew of mergers and acquisitions.

It invested 910 million yuan (US$110 million) in the projects, such as new chemical materials, industrial cleaning and membrane and water treatment.

Blue Star cut the number of its core-business and management employees by 4,959 or 12.1 per cent, this year from a year ago, it said.

The company helped most of those people find jobs in its two major subsidiary businesses -- noodle shops and vehicle repair chain stores.

Blue Star said it built 100 noodle shops and 50 vehicle repair chain stores with an investment of 90 million yuan (US$10.9 million) this year. The company also said it merged nine petroleum and chemical, rubber and tire enterprises in China this year.

Blue Star's import and export volume reached US$120 million this year, up 26.4 per cent from a year ago.

The company's assets currently total 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion), up from 10,000 yuan (US$1,210)when it was founded in 1984.

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