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China Railway 2007 profit up 92%
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China Railway Group Ltd, Asia's largest construction contractor, said its 2007 profit soared 92.2 percent, helped by the building boom in the world's fastest-growing major economy.

Net income jumped to 3.16 billion yuan (452 million U.S. dollars), or 0.24 yuan per share, based on domestic accounting standards, the company said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange late on Thursday. Revenue rose 13.2 percent to 180.5 billion yuan.

Its newly-signed contracts were valued at 248.5 billion yuan, 25.8 percent more than a year ago.

The rapid increasing investment in the building of roads, railways and property in China has offered huge business opportunities for the construction firm.

China's investment in railway construction reached a record high of more than 250 billion yuan last year, 43.2 billion yuan more than a year earlier, the company said, citing Ministry of Railway's statistics.

"The nation's robust economic growth would continue this year to boost demand for domestic infrastructures, in particular the transport," Shi Dahua, China Railway's chairman, said in the statement.

He noted China planned to invest a total 3.8 trillion yuan in transport infrastructure construction in the 11th Five-Year Period (2006-2010).

During the five years, the government was expected to invest 1.25 trillion yuan in railway building and 170 billion yuan in inner-city rail construction, according to the statement.

Investment in highway construction was forecast to hit 140 billion yuan annually in the coming years through 2010 and 100 billion yuan before 2020, the statement noted.

China Railway, however, acknowledged it also faced challenges, including the increasing fierce market competition, rising raw materials prices, and uncertainties over the global economy and politics.

The company went public in Shanghai and Hong Kong in November, raising 21.9 billion yuan and 21.4 billion Hong Kong dollars (2.7 billion U.S. dollars), respectively.

Its shares surged 9.90 percent to 7.99 yuan in Shanghai on Thursday following the stock trading tax cut.

(Xinhua News Agency April 25, 2008)

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