West China Cement Ltd. (2233), whose corporate governance and financial statements were questioned by a short seller, said yesterday first-half profit fell 65 percent because average selling prices were lower and costs increased.
Net income fell to 148.5 million yuan ($23 million), or 0.03 yuan a share, from 419 million yuan, or 0.10 yuan, a year earlier, the cement-maker said in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing yesterday. Sales fell 7.1 percent to 1.59 billion yuan.
The cement market in Shaanxi province will gradually recover this year, with pricing power maintained and possibly improved, it said. West China on Aug. 9 said its business was “healthy” in response to a report by Glaucus Research Group, which identifies itself on its website as a California-based research group that also engages in short-selling. West China didn’t mention the report in yesterday’s filing.
Bigger rival Anhui Conch Cement Co. (914) on Aug. 14 said first- half profit slumped 51 percent to 2.93 billion yuan as demand was dented by the Chinese government’s property curbs.
West China Cement’s shares fell 0.8 percent to HK$1.18, the lowest level in two weeks, at close of Hong Kong trading today. The company didn’t recommend payment of an interim dividend, compared with a payout of 0.02 yuan a year earlier.
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