China Yurun Food Group's revenues fell 5.2% to CNY2.081bn (US$262m) for the first half of 2006, which the company said was due to a sharp reduction in hog prices that affected the retail prices of high value-added chilled pork and Low Temperature Meat Products (LTMP).

However, operating profit at the meats firm stood at CNY253m, an increase of 22.8% from CNY206m in the first half of 2005, and the group's overall gross profit margin during the period was 17%.

Group chairman Zhu Yicai said: "The year 2006 is the first year after the group's listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In the first half, we introduced an array of new products, expanded into new markets, and conducted a series of market initiatives.

"Our chilled pork and LTMP businesses achieved rapid growth, and we also saw a sustainable growth in profits. During the period, we also expanded production capacity in order to prepare for an increase in demand for our products."

In its outlook, the group said it will continue to expand upstream production capacity, increase the share of chilled pork in its upstream business, strengthen its procurement network and enhance its hygienic control and disease prevention systems.

Yurun Food CEO and executive director Bi Guoxiang said: "In the first half of 2006, the group focused on development of high-end products with better gross margins. We also developed modern sales channels including hypermarket, supermarket and convenience stores to cultivate the up-market client base, taking advantage of the popular "Yurun" brand to make further inroads into the rapidly growing domestic market for safe, reliable meat products."